Surgical Menopause

"If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies." ~ Author Unknown

What is it?

If you have had both ovaries removed as a result of surgery prior to having been in menopause, your body will be put into what is known as surgical menopause or instant menopause. Surgical menopause can be much more difficult than normal menopause as it is an overnight transition to post-menopause rather than a gradual change. The symptoms can be more intense, more frequent than natural menopause and can last longer. This, on top of a cancer diagnosis, can be extremely overwhelming.

Among the changes that you will experience are severe drops in estrogen, progesterone and androgen. Similarly, your cholesterol levels will be adversely affected increasing the risk of developing heart disease as well as the risk of osteoporosis.

Aside from the dramatic physical changes, there are also emotional and psychological changes including for younger women, the sudden realization of the inability to bear children.

Some of the more troublesome side effects include:

Many women are scheduled to have chemotherapy treatment within weeks of their ovarian cancer surgery. It can be difficult to distinguish between the symptoms resulting from instant menopause and those which are chemo related.

Conventional Wisdom:

Communication with your doctor is the key. There are many products on the market which can help with the specific physical side effects of surgical menopause. Depending on your type of cancer, hormone replacement or hormone cessation therapy may or may not be offered as an option.

Counseling and support groups may also be recommended.

Self Help:

There are many, many web sites dealing with menopause and menopausal support so we will not go into too much detail here other than to highlight a few helpful hints:

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We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.