HysterSisters Articles for Hysterectomy
Hot Flashes | But I Kept my Ovaries!
From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List
I had my hysterectomy about three months ago. I kept my ovaries because they were fine, but I think I'm having mini hot flashes. They happen throughout the day, but mainly at night. I've always been a "cold" person, but now I'm pretty warm most of the time. Is this normal?
Sometimes the ovaries stop working temporarily as a result of a hysterectomy. It’s as if they go into a bit of a shock and stop producing hormones for some time. Or, damage may occur to the ovaries’ blood supply, causing them to malfunction. When your ovaries are not producing enough estrogen, you’ll experience mild menopausal symptoms until the ovaries normalize again. Temporary ovarian shutdown usually lasts for a few weeks to a couple of months.
Occasionally, the ovaries will shut down permanently after a hysterectomy—even in younger women—for no apparent reason. If this happens, you’ll go through surgical menopause. Surgical menopause can hit a woman harder and faster than natural menopause, and it can be particularly difficult to deal with for a woman who kept her ovaries in the expectation that she would avoid menopause altogether for some time to come. Some studies suggest as many as 50 percent of women who undergo a hysterectomy and retain their ovaries, will have them cease to function within five years. The good news with that is that even if they do shut down, they will continue to provide us with small amounts of those much-needed hormones, easing the transition into menopause to some degree.
If you suspect that this is what is happening, ask your doctor to check your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. You can manage menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, etc. with prescription or over-the-counter remedies in the short term. If your ovaries don’t come back, though, you may want to explore the idea of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). There are positives and negatives associated with HRT, so do your research and get a second opinion before proceeding if that’s the direction you decide to go.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.
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The Everett Clinic, Dept. of Surgery and Gynecology
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9825 Hospital Dr. Suite 205
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Caring for Women
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