You may or may not be aware of women going through menopause after their ovaries are removed. Women of all ages sometimes need to have their ovaries removed for a number of reasons. The process, also known as a bilateral oophorectomy, is when the ovaries are surgically removed. Other processes may include intentionally damaging the ovaries with radiation or drugs to fight cancer or other diseases. When this happens, women can begin to go through menopause. This type of menopause is called induced menopause.
Induced menopause results from the sudden change in ovarian hormones. When the ovaries are removed or damaged, they immediately supply no hormones to the body. This can be a surprise to some women whose doctor did not discuss this after affect with them. Most doctors will be clear about this issue however and their patients are expecting this outcome.
Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, vaginal infections, and a decreased libido are all common symptoms. When a woman is going through induced menopause, it is much like natural menopause. In natural menopause symptoms may start slowly and occur more frequently over time. With induced menopause they often start abruptly in their extreme state. There is no in between with induced menopause.
Doctors warn patients of the risks associated with menopause before the age of 40. Those who go through menopause before 40, no matter if it is induced or natural carry a bigger risk for heart disease. Osteoporosis is also a bigger risk. The reason for this increase in risk is that women are living longer without estrogen, which is a protective hormone. Hormone replacement therapy may help protect you from these risks however some women and doctors choose not to use it.
Some women who have to have a hysterectomy will be permitted to keep their ovaries. The uterus will be removed, but the ovaries will be kept intact. This will allow the woman to go through natural menopause since her ovarian hormones will not be changed by this procedure. Infrequently however the blood supply to the ovaries will be damaged during the procedure, which may put the patient at more of a risk for sudden menopause.
Although you can begin to experience symptoms immediately after having begun induced menopause, you may still have occasional bleeding. It is noted that you cannot be done with menopause until having gone through 12 months without a period. This is the typical time frame most doctors use. If you are planning to have a hysterectomy, you may want to see if it is possible to keep your ovaries.
If it is at all possible, you will likely want to go through menopause naturally. It can be a lot easier on your body and allow nature to take its course. If you have to give up your ovaries, dont worry. You will still go through the same thing every other women does, it just might be at an accelerated pace. Talk with your doctor about hormone replacement therapy or other treatments before your procedure so you can be ready and prepared.