Surgical menopause is artificial menopause, as opposed to naturally occurring menopause.
It is menopause induced by surgical treatment. A woman once asked ‘ but why will doctors do that?’
Well, I will discuss what it is and why a some treatments might be undertaken which will precipitate menopause.
What Is It?
Surgical menopause occurs when a woman who is not yet in the
menopause age abruptly gets into menopause because of the surgical
removal of her two ovaries, a procedure bilateral oophorectomy. This is
in contrast to natural menopause which comes with the gradual loss of
ovarian function over the years.
It occurs after the surgical
procedure and symptoms are often more severe that those of natural
menopause partly because there is no residual ovarian tissue for minute
quantities of estrogen production.
Why Remove A Woman’s Two Ovaries?
This is no simple surgical decision for doctors. For the two ovaries
to be removed by surgery implies the risk of leaving them there is
considerably huge and often a matter of life or death. In most cases,
the two ovaries are removed when there is cancer of the genital tract or
abdominal organ affecting the ovaries. In some rare cases, severe
endometriosis or infections may be the reason for the surgery.
oophorectomy may be done alongside hysterectomy( surgical removal of
the uterus), abdominal or pelvic resection surgeries used to treat
severe cancer of the colon or rectum.
Can Hysterectomy Cause Menopause?
Hysterectomy may be done without removal of the two ovaries. When
this is the case, the ovaries still continue to function by producing
hormones but there will be no uterus to shed menstrual blood. Therefore
the hormones from the ovaries will prevent menopause until natural
menopause occurs though the woman will no longer menstruate(
When hysterectomy is done with surgical removal of the ovaries, then surgical menopause will also occur.
Menopause after surgery is still menopause, meaning it has basically the same symptoms as natural menopause.
However some differences to note include
- Abrupt onset of symptoms occur with menopause after surgery Natural
menopause comes gradually over the years as the ovaries gradually loose
their function. However, surgical menopause occurs abruptly at surgery
and symptoms will begin in days.
- Menopause after surgery can occur in younger women No matter the age, once the two ovaries are no longer there, a woman gets into menopause, even in her 20s.
- The symptoms are often more severe than those of natural menopause especially in younger women A menstruating woman in her early 50s who has her ovaries removed will have less severe symptoms than a woman in her 30s.
Dealing With It
The sudden onset of menopause after surgery alongside the symptoms
of the underlying disease and recovery from surgery may be quite
challenging. Medical and psychological help will often be available at
the hospital setting where the surgery is performed with education and
The treatment of symptoms is essentially the same as natural menopause treatments
since the symptoms are essentially the same. Important you get
familiarised with these options and discuss other possibilities such as
hormone replacement therapies with your doctor.
Return From Surgical Menopause To Perimenopause Symptoms
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