Surgical menopause is a type of induced menopause by surgery.
1. Surgical removal of both the ovaries before attaining normal menopause is termed as ‘surgical menopause’. Thus, surgical menopause is also known as bilateral oophorectomy (removal of both the ovaries).
2. Menopause can also be induced when there is a gross damage to the ovaries by chemotherapy, radiation or certain medications.
3. Surgical menopause has no relationship with the age. Once, both the ovaries are removed, the woman shall attain menopause. It occurs after surgery even in younger women.
Ovaries are the chief source of estrogen production in the female body. The decline in the function of the ovaries and decrease in the production of female hormones estrogen & progesterone results in menopause. Hence, ovaries have a prime role to play in menopause.
Surgical menopause results due to the following conditions:
- Removal of both the ovaries triggers immediate attainment of surgical menopause.
- Removal of only a single ovary may initiate early menopause.
- Failure of the ovaries due to surgical injury, radiation or chemotherapy.
- Torsion of ovaries, where the ovaries get twisted and the blood flow is affected.
Indications for Surgical Removal of Ovaries
In most cases, ovaries are removed as a preventative measure against disease.
Ovaries are removed commonly for the below mentioned reasons:-
- Heavy menstrual bleeding;
- Chronic pelvic pain;
- Recurrent ovarian cysts &
- To reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Basically, the symptoms of surgical menopause are same as the natural menopause.
- Symptoms of surgical menopause are generally more severe as compared to natural menopause particularly in younger women.
- There is an abrupt onset of menopausal symptoms after surgery. While in natural menopause, the symptoms arise gradually over years after the function of the ovaries decline.
Risks of Surgical Menopause
Apart from menopause, there are several other side effects associated with surgical menopause. Some of them are as follows:-
- Sudden & severe onset of menopausal symptoms.
- Reduced libido.
- Loss of bone density.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Heart diseases.
1. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
- Hormonal replacement therapy is recommended to reduce the risk of potential side effects linked with surgical menopause.
- HRT prevents the loss of bone density & also reduces the risk of developing heart disease.
2. Lifestyle modifications
Surgical menopause can further be managed through lifestyle modifications such as:
- Avoiding intake of alcohol, caffeine & spicy foods.
- To reduce the discomfort of vaginal dryness, a water-based vaginal lubricant can be used during sex.
- Reduce stress.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Intake a healthy diet.
- Perform regular physical exercise.
- Limit exposure to warm temperatures.
- Keeping cooling items in hand.