What is Surgical Menopause?
Surgical menopause is a medical condition that occurs when a woman’s ovaries are surgically removed, leading to a sudden decrease in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. This can happen due to the surgical removal of both ovaries, also called bilateral oophorectomy, or the removal of the uterus, also called hysterectomy, which may also involve the removal of the ovaries in some cases.
Since the ovaries are the primary source of estrogen and progesterone hormones in a cis-woman’s body, their removal can cause a variety of symptoms and long-term health effects. These symptoms can include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, decreased sex drive, mood swings, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Those who undergo surgical menopause may also be at increased risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, and other health problems associated with low levels of estrogen.
The management of surgical menopause typically involves hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which involves taking synthetic hormones to replace the estrogen and progesterone that the ovaries would normally produce. HRT can help alleviate symptoms of surgical menopause and reduce the long-term health risks associated with low hormone levels. However, the use of HRT may also be associated with some risks, and women should discuss the potential benefits and risks of HRT with their healthcare provider.