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Monday, May 20, 2013
Menopause is a natural part of the aging process. This stage of life typically occurs for women in their 40s or 50s and marks the end of a woman's reproductive years. Some women experience menopause earlier than normal due to a variety of medical reasons.
Surgical menopause is the removal of both ovaries in women who have not yet had natural menopause. It almost always occurs with hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). Women who have both ovaries removed after experiencing natural menopause will not have surgical menopause, and will not feel anything different.
The ovaries are the main source of estrogen, progesterone, and androgens in the body. When they are gone, the hormone levels fall and changes associated with menopause occur. These changes are different in each woman, but can include:
Women with surgical menopause are also at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Some women will be given estrogen immediately after surgery to try to prevent the intense changes, especially hot flashes. However, the use of estrogen is controversial, and is not recommended for women with existing, or a high risk of developing, cardiovascular disease. When taking estrogen, take the lowest dose for the shortest possible time, and consider alternative therapies. Some antidepressants or herbal therapy, such as black cohosh, or a diet high in soy, may help to relieve hot flashes. Women with surgical menopause should not take progestins.
This article is a NetWellness exclusive.
Last Reviewed: May 04, 2011
Linda A Bernhard, PhD, RN
Associate Professor Emeritus
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University