Menopause after Hysterectomy FAQs
 

Menopause after Hysterectomy FAQs


Olivia Harris

Menopause is a natural time of change. It usually occurs in a woman's 40s or 50s, but if you have a hysterectomy, you might experience menopause symptoms earlier, and more severely.

All too often, women’s health issues such as menopause and hysterectomies, aren’t spoken about, creating fear and uncertainty. But it’s important that, if you’re having a hysterectomy, supporting someone who is, or you simply want to find out more about the topic, you’re able to access the information you need.

So we’ve rounded up some of the most frequently asked questions about menopause after hysterectomy, so you can be as informed as possible.

What is a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus (womb). It’s a major operation with a long recovery time, so it’s usually only considered after other, less invasive, treatments have been tried.

The procedure can be carried out for a number of reasons, including:

  • Heavy periods
  • Long-term pelvic pain
  • Fibroids
  • Cancer

Depending on the type of hysterectomy you have, your cervix and/or ovaries may be removed as well as your uterus. The main types of hysterectomy are:

  • Total hysterectomy – the womb and cervix are removed
  • Subtotal hysterectomy – the womb is removed but the cervix is left
  • Total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy – the womb, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are removed
  • Radical hysterectomy – the womb and all surrounding tissues are removed, including the womb, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, as well as part of the vagina, lymph glands, and fatty tissue.

Do you still have a period after a hysterectomy?

No, after a hysterectomy, you will no longer have period, regardless of your age.

If you do not have your ovaries removed as part of the hysterectomy, you will continue to produce hormones and have hormonal menstrual cycles, but without bleeding.

When can menopause start following a hysterectomy?

If you enter the surgical menopause after a hysterectomy, you will start experiencing symptoms as soon as you’ve had the operation. This may mean you start menopause earlier than you would have done naturally. Although your menopausal symptoms may be more severe, they may not last as long, as you will go straight into the menopause, rather than going through perimenopause too.

Are ovaries removed in a hysterectomy?

Some hysterectomies include the removal of the ovaries, this is known as an oophorectomy.

The decision to remove the ovaries depends on the reason behind the hysterectomy, as well as your general health. If you have already gone through menopause, or are close to menopause, then you may be advised to remove your ovaries regardless of the reason for having a hysterectomy, to protect against ovarian cancer in the future.

What happens to ovaries after a hysterectomy?

If your ovaries are not removed during the hysterectomy, they will continue to produce testosterone. There is, however, an increased risk that they will fail, meaning you’ll experience menopause within 5 years of the operation. 

Do you have to take hormones after a hysterectomy?

You may be offered hormones (HRT) after your hysterectomy, but whether you take them or not is entirely your decision.

If you have your ovaries removed, you may choose to take HRT to replace some of the hormones your ovaries used to produce, which can help relieve many menopausal symptoms you might experience as result.

Do you still go through menopause after a hysterectomy?

Whether or not you will go through menopause after your hysterectomy depends on the type of surgery you have.

If your ovaries are removed during the hysterectomy, you will go through menopause immediately after the operation, this is known as surgical menopause.

But, if you keep one or both of your ovaries, you won’t enter surgical menopause, but there’s a chance you’ll experience the menopause within 5 years of the operation. You may also experience menopause symptoms such as hot flashes for a short time, immediately after your surgery. These symptoms should improve as you heal from your surgery.

What should oestrogen levels be after a hysterectomy?

If you have a hysterectomy, including the removal of the ovaries, your oestrogen levels will drop dramatically, stopping menstruation and starting the menopause, if you aren’t already menopausal.

It is this lack of oestrogen that causes menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, depression, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and fatigue.

Even if you don’t have your ovaries removed, there is a risk that they will fail after the hysterectomy, leading to a gradual decrease in oestrogen levels.

Can you still get hot flushes after a hysterectomy?

Yes. In fact, hot flushes are twice as likely for people who have undergone a hysterectomy and can also be more frequent and intense.

If you experience hot flushes after your hysterectomy, there are a number of ways to help manage them, including HRT and lifestyle changes.

What are the stages of menopause after a hysterectomy?

Natural menopause occurs in three stages

  • Perimenopause
  • Menopause
  • Postmenopause

After a hysterectomy, you may start the menopause within 5 years, or if your hysterectomy involved the removal of your ovaries, you will experience sudden menopause known as surgical menopause.

What are the natural remedies for menopause after hysterectomy?

A number of natural remedies can be used to relieve some of the symptoms of the menopause after a hysterectomy, including:

  • Flaxseed
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
  • Probiotics
  • Yoga
  • Breathing exercises

If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness associated with menopause after hysterectomy, vaginal lubricants can help alleviate dryness and pain during intercourse. Explore our range of natural vaginal lubricants here.