For multiple medical reasons, there are times in some women's lives (sometimes at an early age) when menopause will rear it's not so pretty head before your body is natural. Medical or also called surgical menopause is a result of a surgery called an oophorectomy. This is the removal of one or both of a woman's ovaries.
Your ovaries' job is to pump the hormone estrogen through your intricately created female body. When the production of estrogen is altered by losing one ovary or completely halted by total oophorectomy and this is an immediate trigger for medical menopause.
What are the Effects on the Female Body and Mind when Menopause Hits
When a woman has not had a period for a consecutive year, she is considered to officially be in menopause. Some women can battle perimenopausal side effects for years.
The side effects include (but are not limited to):
- Menstrual cycles may become irregular.
- The hot flashes can become a nightmare. Women have said they felt like stripping to the bare skin because everything feels hot.
- Mood swings are a reality that can become so challenging for everyone involved.
- Frequently getting chills transcends into daily reality. Many women dress in layers during menopause to accommodate their fluctuating internal body temperature.
- Many women develop a need for vaginal lubrication that balances the pH because dryness is a common occurrence during menopause.
- Weight gain that is hard to take off is a truly vexing side effect for a lot of ladies.
- Night sweats plague many menopausal ladies, waking up with soaked sheets and pillowcases.
- Thinning hair is a problem that has brought tears to many women's eyes during menopause.
- The skin doesn't stay as moisturized as it normally did prior to menopause.
Surgical Menopause Risks and Effects
The effects that occur after surgical menopause are lengthier than for menopause that occurs naturally. These include:
- Bone density is compromised.
- The desire to have sex is greatly decreased, sometimes to no desire at all.
- Women who have been thrown into surgical menopause frequently experience infertility since one or both of their ovaries have been removed.
- Extreme vaginal dryness is an irritation for a lot of the ladies who experience surgical menopause.
- Hormonal imbalance is a frustrating effect. Without ovaries, the adrenal gland doesn't make progesterone or estrogen and the hormonal state is thrown out of balance.
Hormonal imbalance is more than emotions that fly off the cuff. Hormonal imbalance can cause the menopausal woman to be at risk for many problems physically such as osteoporosis or heart disease. Hormone Replacement Therapy is a possible treatment that can be administered for risk management. But if a woman has a family medical history of breast and/or ovarian cancer doctors will not prescribe estrogen to her because there are cancers that feed off of estrogen.
How to Manage the Symptoms Associated with Surgical Menopause
As long as there is no strong family history of cancer of the ovaries or breasts, doctors may start patients on hormone replacement therapy. This treatment is intended to balance hormonal loss that occurs once the process of menopause begins. Younger patients who have their ovaries removed before their body experienced menopause naturally need HRT to decrease the risk of heart disease, maintain bone density, and avoid osteoporosis. If a patient is younger than the age of 45 and has had both ovaries removed are considered high risk for the following problems:
- heart disease
- neurological disease
Hot Flash Irritation
There are a few things you can try to alleviate the uncomfortable feelings that go hand-in-hand with hot flashes including:
- There are portable fans that you can carry in your purse. Keep it on hand with spare batteries.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do not eat food that is hot and spicy.
- Limit how many drinks with alcoholic content you consume.
- Keep the temperature low in your bedroom and a small fan on your bedside table.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with exercise and diet will help control the stress and anxiety that comes along with menopause. Take solace in knowing this will not last forever.