Menopause Q&A by Dr. Stöppler
I have gained weight the last couple of years. I had my uterus taken out 13 years ago (still have my ovaries), and now have borderline high blood pressure; is there a connection between menopause and high blood pressure?
There are a several important points to consider with your question. If your uterus was surgically removed but you still have your ovaries, this does not mean that you have reached menopause. When the ovaries are left intact following a hysterectomy, they may function normally and produce hormones for years to come. In which case, the absence of menstruation would not mean that you are in menopause. Or, the ovaries may stop hormone production within a year or two after the hysterectomy and lead to an earlier menopause than would normally be expected.
The relationship of menopause to high blood pressure (hypertension) is complex and not fully understood. However, there are some studies that suggest that declining estrogen levels may influence the lining of the blood vessels and contribute to increases in blood pressure. Research is currently ongoing that is reviewing the relationship of menopause and blood pressure.
You also mention that you have gained weight. You do not mention if you are overweight, but weight is also related to the risk of hypertension. Excess body weight is a known risk factor for the development of hypertension, and gradual weight gain throughout life has been correlated with the increase in blood pressure that occurs with aging.
Thank you for your question.
Last Editorial Review: 4/15/2008