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Conservation of the ovaries doesn’t prevent premature menopause after hysterectomy

Researchers at Duke University have reported in the December 2011 issue of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Journal that even when the ovaries are conserved in a partial hysterectomy, that this will not prevent a woman from experiencing a premature menopause, in fact it is possible that they double their risk of a premature menopause.

The researchers followed two groups of women, 406 women who had had hysterectomies with 465 who had not had one. They found some differences, for instance women who had a hysterectomy also had higher body mass indexes and were more likely to have a history of uterine problems.  Their research confirmed research in the 1990’s by John Studd which showed that women having a hysterectomy that conserved their ovaries would experience the menopause roughly two years earlier than they might have expected to, had they not had a hysterectomy and that 50% of women would experience a menopause within 5 years of surgery.

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However, what is not clear from the research is that the ovarian failure is definitely caused by the hysterectomy surgery itself and it is entirely possible that this is related to the underlying condition for which a hysterectomy was considered necessary.

We have a large section of information which is perfect for those women who are concerned about managing their menopause whether they have had a full or a partial hysterectomy and it includes details of the types of HRT available and also suggestions for managing your menopause naturally.

You can find the details of the research here: dukehealth.org/health_library/news/hysterectomy-increases-risk-for-earlier-menopause-among-younger-women

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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 11 Comments
  1. You have us banged to rights Jen and I think it’s the way we’ve worded it. Of the women who have a hysterectomy that conserves their ovaries, 50% will find that their ovaries fail at some point up to five years post hysterectomy. Of the remaining 50% who have had a hysterectomy they will almost certainly see menopause up to 2 years earlier than they might other wise have expected. Women who don’t have a hysterectomy or surgery to remove their ovaries don’t run this risk at all as they will go through their menopause naturally.

  2. Shame on the Hysterectomy Association for so grossly misrepresenting the research done by Duke University. I encourage everyone to click on the link and read the study for themselves. Copied directly from the study : “Yet despite preserving the ovaries, the Duke team found that 14.8 percent of women in the study who had hysterectomies experienced menopause over the course of the study, compared to 8 percent of women who had no surgery.” The study was conducted over a five year period. As you can see from the results, women who have had a hysterectomy had an almost 50% increase in ovarian failure compared to women that did not have a hysterectomy. This is quite different than the above reported “50% of women would experience a menopause within 5 years of surgery.”. As you can see from the data, the percentage is 14.8 and NOT 50.

  3. It’s mostly on the symptoms Tracey. But you can also ask your GP for a blood oestrogen test, it’s not completely accurate but can give a reasonable indication if you are menopausal.

  4. I had a partial hysterectomy at the age of 39, 8 years ago, because of fibroids and other things. After my op I didn’t have any symptoms of menopause afterwards and I assumed it was because I still had my ovaries. Before my op I had suffered regular migraines whenever I had my period but this stopped. It’s only recently that I have had more migraines and after chatting with friends of my age realised that I may be going through the change as I have a load of other symptoms I was not aware of!! My question is HOW CAN YOU TELL YOU ARE MENOPAUSAL AFTER A PARTIAL HYSTERECTOMY? Anyone got any clues???

  5. I initially lost weight after my TVH which was 14 weeks ago. However, in the last 4 weeks I have put on a massive 10lbs. I’m not doing anything different. I am still eating sensibly, watching portions, exercising regularly. Every week another few pounds go on.. I’ve put on 4 lbs over this weekend. How mad is that!

  6. i also had a T.H in November 2010, with a weight gain straight after, but in June 2011 decided enough was enough and started a well known weight club and lost 2.5 stone by christmas 2011. since then i’ve managed to keep this off and feel fitted and healthier.
    My night sweats also calmed down after a few months and no other symptoms. 🙂

  7. The thing that jumps out at me from this article is the fact that the women in general had higher BMI’s post hysterectomy. No medical person or health and fitness expert I have spoken to will admit there is a link between weight issues and hysterectomy. I have been following a strict low calorie, high protein diet and full-on exercise programme for a few weeks and despite losing 4lb in the first week (probably fluid loss!), have not managed to shed an ounce since. No-one believes I am sticking to the programme, much to my frustration, and I remain 2.5 stones overweight, and with a stomach that could have its own postcode! Had I followed this plan pre-hysterectomy, I would have lost at least a stone by now. It’s 15 months since I had the op, and I really want to shift this weight, most of which was gained after the op.

  8. I also had partical hysterecomy leaving ovaries two years ago plus bladder repair. I previously alos had a mirena coil. I have not had any hot flushes at all and I am 53.I am sure it will all settle down for you.

  9. I had a partial hysterectomy last year, I was still fully ovulating at the time. However since then I have had a blood test which found I was going through the menopause but I have had no symptoms of this whatsoever. I am extremely happy!

  10. This subject is of great interest to me, I had a full hysterectomy in Feb 2011 and insisted that I kept by overies as being under 50 I didn’t want to go into premature menopause. (although on the day of my surgery the surgeon said “he didn’t know why I would want to keep them as they would be no further use to me” I suffered from night time hot flushes etc for the first couple of months after surgery, but haven’t had any menopausal symptoms since.

  11. interesting reading recently had partial hysterectomy 3 weeks ago 1 week ago started having very bad night hot flushes also breast pain.prior to op had mirena coli in.

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