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Menopause Q&A by Dr. Stoppler

Can you still have menopause/menopausal symptoms after having a hysterectomy?

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Answer:

If the ovaries are removed (oophorectomy) at the time of hysterectomy, this is referred to as a surgical (or induced) menopause, and menopausal symptoms will begin immediately after the procedure. The abrupt menopause brought on by surgical removal of the ovaries often results in exaggerated and more severe symptoms of menopause (such as hot flashes, changes in sex drive, and mood changes) than when menopause occurs naturally.

If one or both ovaries are left intact and only the uterus is removed, the ovaries are still capable of hormone production. After a hysterectomy, a woman will not menstruate, but the ovaries may continue to produce hormones up until the normal time when menopause would normally occur, at which time a woman would experience the other (not associated with the cessation of menstruation) symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and mood swings.

Another possibility is that ovarian failure will occur earlier than the expected time of menopause, as early as 1 to 2 years following the hysterectomy. If this happens, a woman may or may not experience symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and changes in libido.

Thank you for your question.

REFERENCE: UpToDate. Patient information: Menopause (Beyond the Basics).


Last Editorial Review: 6/6/2014