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The menopause munchies

Researchers in the United States have found that monkeys whose ovaries are removed eat 67 percent more food and gain 5 percent of body weight in just a few weeks.

The animal experiment may help to explain why many women gain weight after menopause even though many try not to. According to the researchers removing the ovaries induced an immediate menopause by cutting off the female hormone oestrogen.

Women often go through the menopause between the ages of 40 and 60 and may as a result find that they put on weight. However, lifestyle changes may also have an impact.Β  Monkeys provide a good research model because they also have 28-day menstrual cycles and go through menopause.

The team found that low oestrogen in primates resulted in a higher intake of food. In the first two months they experienced a 67 percent increase in food intake.Β  The researchers also noticed an increase in the hormone Leptin, which is produced by fat cells and has been shown to play a role in food intake.

(Prim Care. 2003 Jun;30 (2) pp 317-25.)

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Linda Parkinson-Hardman

Transformational coach and founder of the Hysterectomy Association. Professionally I'm an information scientist who specialises in the adoption and engagement of digital technologies. I am a writer and author of nine books to date, and I've edited a further seven; phew what a lot for a Thursday afternoon :-)

This Post Has 35 Comments
  1. Thank you Linda for the emails. I am now 4 weeks post op and only wish I had known about this site before. I work full time and didn’t really have time to research hysterectomy and what would happen. From diagnosis of huge fibroids to TAH with vertical incision was all done within 4 months. I had a brilliant surgeon, but a bad experience of nursing care afterwards which has really affected me emotionally. Good luck all of you waiting for your op!

  2. Thank you very much Linda for your helpful emails. Found them very encouraging

  3. Waiting to get a full hysterectomy I’m 51 a bit nervous but enjoy getting these emails very helpful thankyou .

  4. I’m having my womb and a polyp removed. And bladder lift.
    Thank you Linda. Your daily emails are amazing.
    My op is 26th October 2015

  5. Thank you so much for the daily emails. I am booked to have my abdominal hysterectomy on Nov 30th and feeling rather apprehensive. I am having an iron infusion tomorrow as I have anaemia for the second time since August. I am now taking Esmya to shrink the fibroids and uterus before my op. I have been told by my consultant that I need a complete hysterectomy.

    I have found the hints and comments on this website so helpful and enlightening – thank you Linda and Ladies out there.

    Fond regards

    Annie

  6. Hi Linda
    I am two days post op and already home! I wanted to say how great it has been having so much info at my fingertips. I also have the support pants and they have been an absolute godsend!! Thank you!!

  7. I’m having a full hysterectomy after Christmas, I’m 45 and I’m so scared, I love getting the daily emails they really help. thank U.Clare

  8. hi guys had a full hyterectomy 6 weeks ago have been on fem seven hrt for a month now medium dose,my killer sweat have reduced to 1-2 a day and at night about 2 i am recovery good had a few complications at the beggining with dealing with the symtoms of menopause like sweat that i had 15-20 a day, emotions going every wear getting fustrated quickly anxiety kicking in oh and mood swings but since using the patches things are getting better now the only problem is i cant remember things and memory goes for a while and returns since the operation i have lost weight a lot i wanted to know taking hrt can your endo return

  9. Hi all – I’m two weeks away from my hysterectomy and have had 3 injections to induce a menopause and shrink the uterus/fibroids. I can’t stop eating now so am quite concerned about eating too much afterwards. I am also quite a fit person so am dreading not being able to exercise. I ordered a support belt from the website the other day and it arrived today – in black cos I thought it would look a little bit sexier!! πŸ™‚

  10. thanks for the daily emails. I find them very encouraging. Doing well, 3 weeks after hyster with both ovaries removed. Take 1mg estrogen hrt daily and feeling fine. I think what helps the most at any stage of the recovery process is good support at home. Not overdoing it needs loving reminders from the home crew. If you do not have support at home, please don’t do more than is required.. Take care.

  11. i love these daily emails and links on them. it seems everytime i have a query or worry Linda pops along and answers it ( i wished you lived next door!)
    i have been getting quite worried because 3 weeks after my total hysterectomy and i have been having the same food cravings and being very hungry as i did just before a period. I’m so pleased its not just me. i also can not do much at the moment and i really need to concentrate on eating lower calorie food!
    thanks again

  12. hi linda

    Ihad my hysterectomy 14th june 2012 almost 2 weeks now i had the womb remove an a sist removed from the overie an a clean on the other overie .Iam in early stage yet but recovering good . i am felling very dfferent every day i cant stop crying some days an other days i ok i have a lot going through my mind but any way i most fear well was that i couldnt have orgasm any more so i experances one to day 25th june on my own of course so i had one and i am so delighted that it works for me i fell that having the hysterectomy now that it has change my life for the better .I had a hysterectomy due to endometriosis an i had no life .so yo woman out there do be afriad it will come back at some stage it all has to do wth the mind an keeping positif ok

  13. It is difficult because your body will need nourishment to recover fully but will be doing much less in the way of activity to use up the calories you would normally consume. The fact that you are the age you are doesn’t help as this is also the time of life when the body tends towards storing fat too. It is a dilemma and I guess the only way to deal with it is to look at eating very healthy foods.

  14. I had my ovaries removed as part of my hysterectomy 9 weeks ago – I am 37 years old. I had previously suffered from poly-cystic ovaries (PCOS) and had struggled with my weight a little because of that. I was ill before my operation and have noticably lost weight (so friends and family say!) but still have quite a large tummy. I do have a vertical scar and it is taking me longer to recover as I had a lot of work done and was in surgery for 6 hours. I am currently taking Livial as endometriosis was found during surgery.
    I haven’t been able to much exercise other than walking as I haven’t felt well enough yet. I am trying to watch what I eat but sometimes it is difficult as I do get very hungry! I am a bit worried now that I will put weight on rather than losing it as I thought I might when I got rid of my ovaries and PCOS!

  15. hi, I am three weeks post op. had full abdominal hystermectomy and one ovary removed (other ovary removed 20 years ago). I am glad I am not going crazy as one day full (well a little energy) and then day shattered tired. night sweats, hot flushes, mood swings, irrational behavour and thoughts. Apparently this is surgical menopause and even though I read up before the op I never heard of this. I am now a week on hrt and find it is helping. Its bad enough going through menopause (Whether it slow or sudden) but to do it after a major op its torture. A week before the op I was in a and e on a trolley for three days with a bladder infection. I have to remind myself I have been through the wars (easier said than done). Linda the website is fantastic, helpful and encouraging. thanks.

    Deknees

  16. It’s true that it’s only oestrogen dependent HRT’s which will re-trigger the endometriosis (at least that is what is known at present) so that’s great advice.

  17. Hi Liz and Linda
    I’m concerned about your advice Linda re livial. I had endometriosis and had six injections of decapeptyl before a hysterectomy on 3 oct. Almost as soon as my injections kicked in I had menopausal symptoms, so was given livial. Livial worked really well and did not bring back the endo. My consultant told me that because of the hormone ( synthetic) in the livial, it wouldn’t act like oestrogen and so wouldn’t affect the endo. The injections worked very well but had to have the hyst because the injections couldn’t be done indefinitely. Compared with the quality of life before livial, I would definitely give it a try. It might not work for everyone, but don’t make a decision based on worry about endo as I was assured there’d be no problem.

    Hope you get something sorted out soon
    Hazel

  18. Thank you Linda. It was due to endometriosis, and I feel that I have made the right decision for now. Your site and daily emails have been a very helpful friend during my recovery so far. Many thanks.
    Lize

  19. Hi Lize, actually the only person who will know whether the decision is correct is you and it will depend on why you had your hysterectomy in the first place, if it was for endometriosis then you may find that it returns with any form of HRT.

  20. Hi Linda,
    I am three weeks post op, have had FAH, ovaries and cervix removed. I am 39 yrs old and have had so many questions since being home. Your website and daily email has been extremely helpful. I have been struggling with night sweats and my consultant has prescribed HRT medication, Livial. I’ve not started taking it as some of the feedback from patients on the web were not good. I think I’ll try and go without it for now – do you think this is a good decision? Thank you again for the advice and help.
    Kindest Regards
    Lize Turley

  21. I had my Hysterectomy op almost 6 weeks ago I am always feeling hungry but have made sure I only eat smaller meals & I have lost a stone in weight! The op is going well my energy levels are up one day sleepy the next but I have a gall bladder problem which came before the operation & so waiting to have that done & it is causing me a lot of pain discomfort more than the operation did. I am 67 I am so glad I had the operation I had Uterus Cervix ovaries removed & a repair going well. I have found your daily email very helpful also the website thank you Linda.

  22. Well, you’ve achieved something great there Michelle and you should be proud of yourself. You’ve also hit the nail on the head – we put weight on because we eat more calories than we are using in energy terms.

  23. I had my op 3 weeks ago and so far I have managed to lose a stone in weight. I do worry about gaining weight and it would be lovely to keep losing. I dont get the munchies and sometimes have to be reminded to eat.

  24. Hi Sunita, typically we gain weight after a hysterectomy because we aren’t as active as normal and are continuing to eat as much as normal, if not more because of being at home near the biscuit tin all day πŸ™‚

  25. Hi all how are things with everyone? three weeks since my op but still feeling quite ruf at the moment, when came out of hosiptal developed a high tempeture and vomiting would’nt stop doctores did a couple of test but said i had ecolin in the urine, treated with antibotics, even tho am not eating very much but within the three weeks still mananged to put on 2kilos of weight i have had my left ovrie removed and also my womb taken out, i am very confused about this and feel very upset about it, if the weight gain carry on like this i dont know what am going to do please help me

  26. That’s a difficult one to answer Sunita because generally we put on weight after a hysterectomy because we don’t moderate and reduce the amount we eat in line with the reduction in exercise and activity levels. Having said that there is a hormonal element to it, but to be specific is difficult.

  27. hi just quick question i have had one of my ovaries removed does that mean i will still put on weght, i am over weght already

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