by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
Making the decision can be a difficult – and sometimes scary decision for some women. Many times, hysterectomy is recommended as a solution for a series of symptoms, other times its recommended due to disease.
Reports show than more than half of all women who undergo hysterectomy but retain their ovaries will experience symptoms of hormone shifting and imbalance – even though their ovaries are left in place and continue to function. What many women aren’t told is that the uterus and ovaries share their blood supply and once the uterus is removed, ovarian function can be negatively affected.
Women who enter menopause seemingly overnight have an oophorectomy – this is when the ovaries and uterus are removed. Many women are immediately put on synthetic HRT but still report menopausal symptoms – many times in the moderate to severe range.
If you have had or are considering a partial or total hysterectomy, or a total hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy, there are things you can do to help your body restore its hormonal balance.
You may want to consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Talk with a qualified healthcare practitioner to help you make this decision. Personal beliefs, family history and other risk factors – along with the way you feel should all be taken into consideration.
I recommend my patients consider phytotherapy. There are herbs like black cohosh, ashwagandha, red clover and chasteberry which are known to provide support for the sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) which fluctuate after a hysterectomy.
Many women will report having persistent hot flashes. I recommend using soy isoflavones – about 80 mgs a day. I suggest that you chose soy which is derived from the whole bean (not the germ) in either powder or pill form. I also recommend a high quality multivitamin/mineral complex dietary supplement. It’s a great way to support your body and insure that you are getting the nutrients you need during a time of hormonal transition.