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Does our body still produce some estrogen after the ovaries and uterus are removed? Does our body still produce some estrogen after the ovaries and uterus are removed?

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Unread 12-02-2005, 07:00 PM
Does our body still produce some estrogen after the ovaries and uterus are removed?

I am freaked out and confused. I was reading a little on the hormone jungle and it seemed I saw something about the levels of estrogen drop significantly but not completely?? Could this be true or am I just not reading it right?
I am starting to think I should have never let them take my ovaries out. I wonder if the threat of cancer may have been less confusing. At least I would know what to do if that happened. I am completely freaking out about what the future holds for me. The more I read the more freaked out I get. My Oncologist did not give me a choice on the ovaries and now I feel like my life is over. I am 43 and I can't seem to stop crying. I am getting more and more scared. I did not have much time to research because my surgery was quick abrupt.
Now I can't stop crying.
I feel like I am going to get fat, bald, old and my vagina and labia will dry up like an old apple.
I just can't cope with this. I have 2 small children and a husband who is 8 years younger than me. I feel so overwhelmed.

I am so sorry, but my surgery was on the 21st of November and today it feels like I have been crushed by a steamroller. I have been breaking down all day and am bawling here as I type. I just don't know where else to turn because no one seems to understand what I am going through.

I am so sorry for the big vent, I just feel so lost.

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Unread 12-02-2005, 09:23 PM
Does our body still produce some estrogen after the ovaries and uterus are removed?

Renee, I am so sorry you are feeling so awful! Many to you! You are most certainly not alone here! I am also going through surgical menopause at 33 years old and I totally understand the constant crying, fatigue, body aches, headaches, hot flashes, and on and on. It's a shock to your body and mind, that's for sure. I wasn't prepared to lose both ovaries either! I too am trying to work through some grief and regret issues. I wish I could help you with the hormone replacement issue but seeing that you are dealing with cancer? issues this may or may not be your best option. What has your doctor told you? Are you aloud to take any supplements or hrt? Are you on any hrt? What did you have your hysterectomy for? Sorry for all the questions but I think we need a little bigger picture here of what you are dealing with to help you more.

I have heard that you still produce a small amount of estrogen in your adrenal glands, but this is usually not enough to compensate for what you lost with your ovaries, especially at your age. Also, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for your body to use up the estrogen from your ovaries that is stored up in your body fat. I know for me, even on a small dose of estrogen replacement, I didn't even experience the surgical menopause symptoms until four weeks after my hysterectomy. Some people are thrown into surgical menopause instantly. Remember though that you are only a few weeks out from your surgery. You are going to feel wiped out this early in recovery. Your body is sore and still has a lot of healing to do. You really need to rest and take it easy. The anesthesia and pain meds are probably still not all the way out of your system and can also have an effect on you for up to a month later, causing some of the fatigue, brain fog, and emotional instability you are feeling. Because you are so early in recovery, there are just so many factors that are affecting how you feel. As the weeks go by, you will get some of your strength and energy back. That much I can promise you.

If it turns out you can't take any kind of hormone replacement, there are other options out there. There are antidepressants that also help with hot flashes and other problems. There are herbal supplements, vitamins, and other things you can take to help prevent bone loss and other issues. There is also a forum here that deals with surgical menopause without hrt. Because of brain fog I can't think off hand what it is called, but it is right below this forum.

Please hang in there and don't panic! I know it's hard when you feel so awful and can't stop crying. Been there and still cry all the time! It does help me a little to know some of it is hormonal, but of course that only gets you so far. You really need to let your doctor know how you feel. Maybe he/she can help you find a way to deal with some of these problems you are having. If you don't find your doctor helpful in these matters, by all means find one that will. I had to find a new doctor to deal with hormonal issues as my gyn that did the surgery wasn't very helpful with hrt and surgical menopause. Also keep reading other threads here to get an idea of what others are going through, do some research about hormone replacement and surgical menopause, and keep reaching out for support. The women here are very supportive and knowledgeable about surgical menopause. I am sure many more people will come along to help you. I am fairly new to this also at 3 1/2 months post op and still learning so much everyday. Here are some links to help you get started.
This link describes some of the hrt's out there.
This link describes symptoms of too much/too little estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone symptoms.
This link describes some important supplements (vitamins/minerals) that we need to consider taking to help our bodies while dealing with surgical menopause.

I hope this helps. If it's any consolation, I have not gone bald or gained any weight thus far! And I am still able to have orgasms. Sorry for And believe me, at this point I am not on very much estrogen as I am finding out I am very sensitive to estrogen replacement and can't seem to handle very much. I am also taking progesterone which helps me sleep and balances out the estrogen. But again, I don't want to go into this too much as I am not sure of your situation and whether you can even take hrt. And of course we are all different and what works for one wont' necessarily work for another.

I hope things start to get better for you soon! Take care and feel free to send a personal message to me if you want to talk some more. You can do this by clicking on my username, and then you will see a menu. click on "send a personal message". Hang in there!
Unread 12-02-2005, 11:25 PM
Does our body still produce some estrogen after the ovaries and uterus are removed?

Hi Renee,
I completely understand your tears. I had my surgery on the 22nd November and so we are at the same stage in the healing process. I too have spent today crying for what appears to be no reason. There were no bowels in the cupboard and I burst into tears. I started taking a low dose eastrogen 3 days after surgery and I have no idea if it is helping, or if I need a higher dose. I have suffered from hot flushes for a few years prior to surgery but they are coming alot more often now and I assume this is related to the surgery.
There are so many questions and the problem that I have is that all the names are different, as I am in Australia, and so I find alot of the posts more confusing.
It is perfectly natural to wonder and say what if, about things like this, but it's important to remember that the surgeon made the decision based on medical reasons and it was the best for you.
I really do not have any answers for you but you might gather some kind of hope out of knowing that there are others feeling the same way as you.
Good luck
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Unread 12-03-2005, 01:29 AM

Dear Renee,
Im sorry that you are feeling this way...
Surgical menopause is not fun at all.
Naturebound has given you some good advice, she is only 3 months (I think) post-op, but I am 15 years post-op! My hysterectomy was at the tender age of 22...
And mine started almost instantly...(THE MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS) AND THEY HIT ME HARD!
The nurses at the hospital had to keep changing the sheets a few times a day, from the hot flushes!
I have read that it is different for each woman...our bodies "use up" the remaining estrogen we have within a day or two, to (I think) about 3 months.

I'm not sure if mine were so drastic because of my age, or not, but, from what I have read here, on this site...I DON'T THINK IT MATTERS WHAT AGE YOU ARE.

But, mine is a long, and very complicated story, and have not been given the right hormones as yet...
I will get there some day, as all of us will.

I had no choice about my ovaries either, and my heart goes out to you...
You just don't realize how important they are until they aren't there anymore...IT IS A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM, TO SAY THE LEAST!

Naturebound has also asked a couple of important questions, if you are going to get the right answers.
That's what we are all here help each other through the bad days, our tears and our triumphs!
The more you share, the more help you will receive.
I don't know what I would do without my "sisters" here now...I just wish there had of been something as wonderful as this web-site, and the fantastic, helpful women here 15 years ago!!!


You said that you didn't have time to research before the hysterectomy, as it was so quick...
So was your research now, it will only help you in the long run.
Radical. xxx
Unread 12-03-2005, 10:57 AM
Does our body still produce some estrogen after the ovaries and uterus are removed?

Now I am crying because you ladies are so totally amazing. You don't even know me but your words cut right through the fog and go straight to the heart. Wow!! It's just so nice to feel the cyber embrace of not being the only one.
I have a big circle of friends and community who are for the most part taking complete care of me and my family by bringing food and carting my 3 and 5 year old around. I feel blessed. But none of them have been through this and I sometimes feel like they are pitying me and that they think I have lost a part of my womanhood. It is only here that I feel normal and totally understood. I keep a very strong unemotional wall infront of me when around these people. They have no idea that I am sitting at home in a huge puddle of tears and that I cry at the drop of a hat. I have always been a strong force to be reckoned with and I think people respect me for my total composure and strength of character.
So here is my story,
I am 43 ( a very young, athletic 43) I have a 35 year old husband and a 3 and a 5 year old. In the past 5 years I lost my Dad to Leukemia (67 years old) Horrible death. My brothers 4 year old daughter got leukemia(she is in remission and is doing well). 2 of my best friends had breast cancer(one just had a reoccurance, the other is doing okay). My 47 year old sister got OVCA caught at stage 3c. She had a tah bso and just finished her 6th round of chemo. (BTW, yes, my sister had the same surgery, but she went on chemo almost immediatly and can't really help with symptoms as she does not know if hers are chemo or menopause, she can not do hrt as her cancer was estrogen receptive)
After the storm of going through this with my sister, I went in for my annual check up and I requested a screen for OVCA due to the fact that I had IVF for my kids, as did my sister and her Onc thought there may be a correlation. I was given a transvag U/S and a ca125 test. That was on a Tuesday. The next day my Dr office called and requested that I come in Thursday to discuss the result of the U/S. I went in and was told that I had a 5 to 6 cm complex mass on my right ovary and it was strongly suggested to be ovarian carcinoma. (ca125 came in at 28)I had an appointment the following Monday with an Gyn/Onc. This was extremely worrysome because where I come from, you never get in that fast. My surgery was booked for 3 weeks later. I guess the urgency was due to the history of my sister and the appearance of the mass, it had blood flow or something. (still not very clear on the details) Long story short, they called and told me I had been bumped up a week and I requested that they only take what they need to. I found out that it was BSO in recovery. I did not know if it was cancer or not until my husband appeared in my drug induced fog and told me initial path showed the mass to be benign. Now, I must wait until the full path report comes in and then I will get the full story on exactly what was growing in there. The Onc came to vist and told me it all looked good and not to worry. He did not however say why he took it all.
So, as it standa, HRT is a good possibility.
As for my recovery, it has been text book. I at this point have no real pain, my incision is extremely itchy, but is a fine pencil line that is completely healed, it looks great! I am pooping and peeing with no real issues. I feel normal in the girly part regions. My Gyn/Onc said he would set me up with some HRT (said it like "here take this and it will all be good"). I, at this point, have not had any menopausal symptoms aside from the whole emotional thing. I was less freaked out before I started researching. I fear I, like naturebound will be super sensitive to estrogen. I sure was when I went through the Invitro fertilization process.
On the other hand, I an so thankful that I have my 2 babies and was able to carry them and my body did that for me. I am just feeling the loss of those parts.
Okay, girls, enough of the whine fest.
Thank you naturebound so much for sharing your story and being so inspiring and also for the links.
Radical, you too girlfriend, To hear your story and for you to spend your time helping a weeping pile of poo get it together.
Cassandra, I can hear you all the way on the other side of the world, crying over the bowl, and feel like you have listened to me too.
I can't thank you all enough for your support. You truly have made me feel so much better.
So, when I start displaying male pattern baldness and start growing a beard, I will come for support. LOL while crying at the same time.
BIG to all of you caring women.

Unread 12-06-2005, 06:41 AM
Does our body still produce some estrogen after the ovaries and uterus are removed?

Renee -
I was looking for some answers to my own issues, and read your post and was moved to respond to you. I am 46, young, healthy, and now without my uterus or ovaries. My surgery was in June 2005, and I had a LONG time to prepare for it. Both my mother and her mother had ovarian cancer. My mom lived with it for 10 years, and it was a real trial. During the time that she was sick, my sisters and I learned a lot about the hereditary risk of ovarian cancer. All three of us had our ovaries removed. All this is to say: you ABSOLUTELY did the right thing by having both ovaries removed!! I know it stinks - I know you feel terrible right now, but it was the lesser of two evils. Please keep working with your doctor about the possibility of hrt, and read about natural supplements - they can go a long way to making you feel better in the meantime.
I am fortunate in that I can take hrt, but am not near balanced - I weep and sulk, I get angry and then feel small. I have trouble sleeping at night. I get dry down there (but my boyfriend is wonderful and understanding and we keep the astroglide ready - LOL) I've resolved to persist in trying to find the right regimen and just try to keep faith. In the end, when I am feeling really evil and sorry for myself and all that - I remember - I had this surgery to greatly reduce my risk of ovarian cancer - and I would rather go through THIS than what my mom, and her mom, went through. It is BY FAR the better choice. Keep your chin up and let me know how you're getting along!
Unread 01-08-2006, 05:57 AM
Does our body still produce some estrogen after the ovaries and uterus are removed?

Hey Renee, just read your post. Hopefully, you are feeling some better by now. I had TAH on November 29th. I am a breast cancer survivor so I was experiencing menopause symptoms due to the chemo and the Tamoxifen. I am not able to take HRT due to the BC. I had similar symptoms as you describe when the menopause hit. My doctors prescribed an anti-depressant (Lexapro) and Neurontin. Both help immensely with all of the symptoms. I still have an occasional mild hot flash but the "fog" brain is minimal and the crying stopped all together.
Please work with your doctor to sort out a strategy that will relieve these symptoms.
Take care and God Bless

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