The menopause – surgical menopause

A surgical menopause is one which takes place when a woman’s ovaries are removed, either at the same time as the womb or separately. For most women, the term menopause is defined as the final bleed she will have. It is an entirely natural event and every woman will experience it, if she lives long enough. The word “menopause” is often used to define the period of time that leads up to a woman’s’ final period, although this is strictly a period of time called the “peri-menopause”.

The final menstrual period takes place, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can be earlier or later, the peri-menopause can begin as early as ten years before the final bleed and is caused when the two ovarian hormones, oestrogen and progesterone are no longer stimulating the endometrium to prepare for eggs.

The term “peri-menopause” or “menopause” is usually used to define the symptoms that lead up to the final bleed and is caused by the reduction in the number of egg cells that a woman has. Therefore the age at which a woman has her final bleed will be dependent upon the number of eggs her body has produced.

If you have your ovaries removed at the time of your hysterectomy then you will have an immediate menopause, regardless of your age, this is also called a surgical menopause. If you have a hysterectomy and your ovaries are left intact then you have up to a 50% chance of your ovaries failing within five years of your hysterectomy, this may be because the blood supply to the uterus has been cut off. Radiation treatment following hysterectomy for cancer may also cause the ovaries to fail prematurely.

Even after a natural menopause the ovaries continue to play a part in a woman’s health as they continue to produce a small amount of oestrogen and a more significant amount of testosterone for up to 12 years. Therefore there are indications that women having a hysterectomy should be offered the supplementation of testosterone as well as oestrogen.

Recommended Reading:

star buyThe Pocket Guide to Hysterectomy – £5.50 from The Hysterectomy Association. This is essential reading and tell you everything you need to know about the menopause after a hysterectomy.

Recommended Resources:

24 thoughts on “The menopause – surgical menopause

  1. Hello… well I didn’t think I would be here asking for help… but I can’t stand it anymore… I’ve seen my GP and he seems to be very unsympathetic towards my problem.
    I had a full hysterectomy back in 2006 so just over 10 years now.
    I wasn’t put on hrt as I was advised that my body needed to re adjust and calm down.
    Approx 6 months after I started with hot flushes.. The only way I can describe it is… its like I’ve arrived to a very hot destination and they’ve opened the doors on the airplane and he heat just hits you.
    I could cope at first however within 12 months of my hysterectomy I was prescribed HRT patches, and boy’ did they help… I felt such a relief.. up until year 9. One night I woke up absolutely soaking. The whole bed was drenched, I thought I was just coming down with something but didnt have any other symptoms at all.. the next night the same.. and so on, after suffering with this for over 3 weeks I decided to go and visit my GP. They increased my dose from 50mg to 75mg patches and to return in a month.
    After approx 6 months of trying doses from 50 upto 100mg to this day I’m suffering more than ever.
    I didn’t have children ( that wish wasn’t granted) so I concentrated on myself and my work and I’m now a very successful manager within the automotive industry. As you can imagine getting hot flushes is bad enough to hide when in a meeting or just at home whilst doing the house work, however when you have the sweat running down yr face and my whole body wet to the extent I need to change my full outfit more than twice during anyone day at work and twice at arms and legs are like I’ve just got out of the shower, completely soaking on my stomach and back… dripping for at least 5-8 mins, (yes I have timed them) it’s getting beyond a joke now.

    I’ve been to the chemist and spoke to all sorts of qualified people / nurses/ family members and they’ve described my systems as though I’m going through cold turkey.. so I stripped myself of all medication, everything in the hope it will all go away.. no tea or coffee etc, no change… no worse (can’t get any worse) but definitely not any better
    Please can someone advise me of anything they have tried and tested with success.. I have just had a knee op and I’m using this as an excuse not to go back to work due to my flushes…
    thank you for reading / listen
    Steph x
    PS the patches I’m on at the moment are called Evorel 75

    1. Hi Steph,
      I came on the internet looking for an answer and found your post and it was like reading all about me! Word for word…everything you’re going through, I’m going through. Had my hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy in 2004 and HRT gel has been fab till three months ago. Was even managing to reduce it over the past year cos my GP said I needed to come off by the time I got to 60 – I’m 58 at the moment.
      However, I started on antidepressants in July ( I have rheumatoid arthritis and Dr thought a low dose would help with the pain) and I think there must be some drug intervention going on because I am drenched all the time. Also get very dizzy and shakey with the flushes and night sweats. I’m going to stop the antidepressants and up the dose of HRT again to see if I can get it under control.
      Have you tried Black Cohash? Apparently its very popular in the States as a natural remedy for the flushes and sweats. I’m going to give it a go. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water. I’ve always been a water fan but I’m guzzling tons more! It’s supposed to help.
      hang on in there and really hope you – and me – come out of this at some point cos it is CRAP!!! But know that you’re not alone. Elli xx

  2. Reading your comments has now left me in tears as it exactly what l have done and ruined my life my partner walked out l scream for silly things do not no why am depressed an stay up all night crying how sad am l use to be so fun full of life now its left when l awoke from op so thanks for being honest ladies as l do not no what l shall do but its such a shock to be left this way l truely fear myself Good luck

  3. I am 71 years old and had a complete hysterectomy including both my ovaries due to endothelial cancer on Sept. 14, 2015. I had my last period Jan. 2000. My ovaries were taken and I wonder if I will experience any menopausal symptoms. I am obese if this affects the outcome……

  4. Hi ,
    I had a sub total when i was 39 , that was 13 years ago. now at 52 i keep getting hot flushes – is this even possible?

    1. Yes, I haven’t had my hysterectomy yet, but I’m 64 and I’ve had hot flushes for 15 years. I read that you can have them for 20 years or more!

  5. Serina, I have had preventative surgery – total hysterectomy including cervix. Am not brca positive but mum and grandmother both dedicated of ovarian and grt grandmother breast.

    Been 3 weeks now and all well. No signs of menopause yet, but at times unable to get warm or I get too warm. Sleep is poor some nights.

    Way I see it, if menopause at 41 is all i have to deal with than waiting to get ovarian cancer, i’ll take it!

    I wish you well.

  6. Hi there, I thought I would reply to share my experience of a sub total hysterectomy. It has not been the best time of my life in all honesty. I went into my surgery very depressed after a botched gynaecology procedure which resulted in a haemorrhage,so I was already very low and very scared having something else done which was totally unexpected. I had both my overies removed due to massive cysts and my uterus was full of fibroids and the size of a 24 week pregnancy. Since having surgery my depression spiralled out of control and I ended up spending time in a psychiatric ward so please anyone considering this, unless you have to lose your ovaries then keep hold of them because my mood definitely is not the same. I also now have terrible anxiety, something that I have never suffered from before. My energy levels are very low and my family life has suffered as a result of all this. I have lost my job and now just mope around the house for the majority of the day. This is not how I thought things would turn out this year. I am 20 weeks post op and I know some people take a year to recover but it seems like an eternity

  7. I hope you can help. I’m 19 weeks post an open sub-total hysterectomy and am feeling absolutely rotten.
    I ache in every muscle I possess , I have hot flushes, I didn’t realise the tiredness would make me feel so low and everything is such an effort. Work is not happy about what is happening but I can’t help how I am. My uterus was the size of a 24 week pregnancy. It’s nice not to be in pain but I wasn’t prepared for the results of the loss of my ovaries. Sorry feeling very sorry for myself!

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