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Hormone Testing before Hysterectomy

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

Woman sitting at her kitchen table wondering about hormone testing before her hysterectomyI asked my doctor about a baseline hormone test before having my surgery, and he said no. Does that make sense? How will he know what level of hormones to give me after surgery without testing me now?

While it can sound reasonable, in theory, to test your hormone levels before your hysterectomy, in reality the results would be mostly meaningless. So yes, it makes sense that your doctor does not want to do this type of testing. Here are a few of the reasons why doing so would be ineffective.

Often, the very diagnosis that is leading to surgery is at least somewhat related to hormones. In many cases, the diagnosis either causes or is caused by hormonal imbalance. Thus, you probably won't need, or even want your post-hysterectomy hormone levels to be what they are now.

Also, because hormone levels change over the course of the month, you would need to have your levels tested multiple times during a cycle or two to even begin to determine what your current hormone levels might be. For each test, you would also need to keep notes about how you are feeling so that you and your physician could try to match the test results with your symptoms. This could be time consuming and costly, not to mention risky (due to multiple blood draws).

Finally, even if you know what levels of hormones make you feel good before surgery, that does not translate into knowing which hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and dosage you will need to use to achieve the same levels after surgery. For one, your body may metabolize the HRT differently than the hormones it created on its own. Two, your physician many not prescribe progesterone or progestin, which could affect the amount of estrogen you need.

HRT is essentially a trial and error process. It requires time and patience as you and your physician adjust the various HRT options until you find a choice and dose that allows you to feel your best. Consequently, rather than concentrate on the numbers, many doctors treat according to symptoms experienced by individual patients.

Because there are so many variables involved with the hormone levels of women with functioning ovaries, testing those levels before surgery is generally not beneficial. Instead, HRT is best prescribed and adjusted according to the symptoms experienced after the surgery, regardless of what the levels were previously.

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.

07-10-2013 - 07:42 PM


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