What is the relationship between hysterectomy and menopause? Statistics show that about one in three women can expect to have early menopause after a hysterectomy, while the likelihood can be up to five years earlier than normal.

Hysterectomy is the removal of a woman’s uterus. Women have the option of a full or partial hysterectomy. The most commonly used full version involves removal of the uterus and cervix, while a partial procedure removes the uterus but not the cervix.

If both ovaries are removed in a woman before menopause, it is likely that menopause will start early. Symptoms such as hot flashes may appear after the procedure. Other common symptoms such as vaginal dryness and insomnia can occur and are usually much more severe than normal during the natural menopause process.

If one or both ovaries remain intact, hormone production is still possible. While menstruation stops after a hysterectomy, the ovaries can still produce hormones until menopause becomes a factor.

Why the hysterectomy?

Women need to have a total or partial hysterectomy for several reasons. Here are a few:

Weight gain

Although menopause does not contribute to weight gain in most cases, the chances of gaining weight after a hysterectomy are high. One of the reasons is the associated recovery phase. Full recovery can take up to six months. If you continue to eat normally without the exercise involved, which is limited due to recovery from surgery, weight gain is common.

HRT treatment

Each woman’s situation must be assessed individually. Symptoms of estrogen deficiency are common in women who have had their ovaries removed. This can occur a few days after the operation and can cause typical symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. Now is the time to discuss HRT treatment with your doctor.

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