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Hysterectomy, Menopause And Well-being

Discussion in 'Gynaecology' started by SGBV, Jul 4, 2022.

  1. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear all,

    Has anyone or your near/dear ones undergone hysterectomy before your enter menopause? If so, could you kindly share your experience with the surgery, post recovery and well-being after menopause?

    In a span of 2-3 days, I had to say yes to a total hysterectomy and salpingo oophorectomy (The removal of ovaries) to prevent endometriosis pain & to remove an unwanted cysts in one of my ovaries. The doctors suggested it was the best decision to prevent future struggles with the big C. So, I had to trust them with limited to no choice.

    Since the cyst was big, and there were endometrial tissues in my bladder & rectus the Drs advised it was best to go for abdominal - open surgery instead of laparoscopic one.
    My 2 previous c-sections were another reason to validate their decisions.

    I am just 40, and I had to accept this surgical menopause with no choice.

    The surgery went well, and the wounds healed completely on the first month itself.
    Although I had pain here and there, and felt extremely tired I pushed myself a bit to be active in order to bring back the stamina.

    I could not eat well during the first few weeks, and survived only with liquids. However, from the 3rd week onwards, I was up and started cooking, walking inside the garden and even going out in the car for follow up checkups and few church visits.

    Just after the first month, I took up a 24hr long flight (6 hr layover in Dubai) to come back to my duty station from Sri Lanka and started going to office from the second day of landing.
    With jetlag, messy house, difference in food, time etc..etc... I was totally down for a few days and hardly got up from bed.
    But then, I quickly recovered and resumed my usual work, that includes mini travel on weekly basis.

    Now that, its been 2 months since I had the surgery, and 1 month since I am here, yet I feel dull.
    Some days, I feel fit & normal. I feel energetic to do cooking, walking and eating as usual. But many days, i feel the fatigue and restlessness.

    I experience severe heart beat even to climb stair-case, sweating, and feeling extremely weak.

    I look plump after the surgery and defintely put on a lot of weight within these 2 months.
    I have no stamina even to maintain a diet program or to resume mild work-out as I was advised not to lift anything heavy or to strain my body for at least 6 months.

    On the other hand, I am so worried about menopause. I am mentally not prepared to this at this age, even though I am free of pain & other discomfort associated with my period now.
    It feels as if I have become old suddenly. Even though I am 40, I have always felt very young at heart, and looked much younger to my age.
    Now that, post surgery fatigue & weakness, weight gain and menopause, I feel horrible.

    My doctor did not advice me to take hormonal pills after the surgery. He has only asked me to come back or check with another Gynecologists in 6 months time.

    But many people are advising me to go for hormone therapy and take supplements as I won't be producing any since the removal of my ovaries.

    When I browsed on-line, conflicting information confuses me. Some say, go for hormone therapy as it can help prevent osteoporosis later. I already have joint pains, and unable to work as before.
    But some other sites have information related to hormone therapies and breast cancer.

    One of my relative recently had breast cancer following hysterectomy, but she was 60 when she did the surgery.

    I thought my physical condition will improve after hysterectomy, but I feel worse in terms of physical health following this surgery.

    Can anyone share your experience, and advice (if any) in relation to this?
    Thank you!
     
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  2. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    You can talk with your gynecologist to look at the options for HRT. And get a second or third opinion as well before making up your mind. There are risks and controversies but generally for women who undergo menopause before 45 the benefits are thought to outweigh the risks. Since you have had a complete surgery you would require only estrogen replacement, not progesterone.
    The risks of HRT are higher in women who start it after undergoing menopause at later ages, around 50. Since you are relatively young there may also be side effects from lack of estrogen in your body, so make sure to ask your doctor about all the options.
    It is also a big change emotionally to go through forced menopause at such a young age, while handling so many responsibilities. Give yourself a lot of grace. If you can see a counselor to talk about all these things please try to do so. I would also consider getting screened for depression. Your gynecologist can do that.
    You would have been advised not to do vigorous exercise but try to incorporate a daily walk into your routine. The weather is beautiful now and the days are long so it will improve your mood to be out in fresh air and sunshine.
    As for weight gain it hits many of us at this time. As I near menopause it is a constant struggle. I have to track my food intake closely and try to stick to lower carbs and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. You don’t need to make a special diet, just adjust the way you eat your existing meals. If you take fish that’s a great way to get nutrition, especially salmon and cod lightly prepared.
    Make sure that your thyroid, vitamin D and B12 are normal, as well as iron levels. I had always had low vitamin D and finally after a few years of regular supplementation I have started to feel better.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022
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  3. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, i will have doctor appointment soon. But was not sure whether to see a Dr now or later, as it's been just 2 months and no severe menopause symptoms as such.

    But the post surgery complecation severe, though the wound is healed, i feel exhausted and have a racing heart all the time.

    But strangely i feel calm and peaceful these days, in fact much more relaxed mentally than before when i was battling hormonal imbalance in the past few years.
    I tend to take things lightly and ignore unwanted battles, and that's a clear change in my life post hysterectomy.

    But, i am completely down physically and i believe my body needs rest, which is a rare commodity with work here.

    Thanks a million for your advice. I will look into HRT & go for second or even third opinion if needed.
     
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  4. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Dear SGBV,
    I had a hysterectomy when I was 35 years old. My sugar was high. This I found out when they did the pre surgery assessment. Had a 3 kg fibroid. It was a open surgery. My ovaries were not removed.
    It took me 6 months to recoup my health. Like you I had to go back to work after 3 weeks. I extended my leave by another 2 weeks.
    Even after this I was very weak. Could not climb stairs.
    About harmones, I don't know much. My friend who had the same surgery and got her ovaries removed, has put on lots of weight. The doctor did not prescribe any harmone for her. He advised her to exercise and diet to reduce her weight
    Regards
    Uma
     
  5. 1Sandhya

    1Sandhya Platinum IL'ite

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    I was just going to post asking about your recovery and how it’s going when I saw this thread.
    Effect of estrogen extends over all our organs and cannot be underestimated, not just ovaries and reproduction it affects mood, blood sugar, mental well being, bone health, so many things. during my menopause few things helped with my symptoms both physical and psychological.
    1. I stopped consuming daily sugar (in tea) etc. Once in a long time ~ 3 mos., festival or birthday celebration I will have cake or maybe sweet. Just one piece. It helped a lot.
    2. Daily exercise preferably a walk outside in fresh air.
    3. Vitamin D3, and all that good stuff regularly.
    Take it easy and give your health top priority. Your plate is already full with juggling all the specific issues of your domestic situation. It will take 2-3 years for all the menopause related symptoms to fully subside. You can consider it a transitional phase.
    Dont want to scare you but sometimes in these transition phases - puberty and menopause- some people develop autoimmune symptoms or conditions. Don’t know what they did or didn’t do but it just means that our body is very vulnerable during this period of adjustment so don’t neglect.
     
  6. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Uma....
    I understand the reason behind elevated heart rate, extreme tiredness and all that, because I am exhausting myself with long travels, and work which I shouldn't be doing 2 months post surgery. I will find a way to handle all this remotely and give my body some needed rest from now onwards.

    Yes, weight gain is something confusing me. My cousin had a hysterotomy when she was 36. But not her ovaries, and she never had weight issues.
    But I have gained a lot in these days, and especially eating a lot of sugary items as I feel weak, low.
    I am worried about diabetes and weight gain.
     
  7. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks @1Sandhya, it was so nice of you!

    I must stop consuming sugar. In fact, I rarely consume sugar in my diet before the surgery. But now, I feel weak and craving for sugar all the time. My mom forces me to drink juices and makes sweets as she thinks I must eat good to maintain my stamina. I know, it is wrong, but I take it lightly and give my body a favor thinking it is still recovering, so I shouldn't enforce more restrictions.

    But I am worried about getting diabetes and other diseases around this time.

    I don't know why but I've started regretting Hysterectomy already
     
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  8. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    @SGBV, there is an online forum called HysterSisters that is dedicated to women discussing all aspects of their hysterectomies. You might find it helpful.
     
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  9. SunPa

    SunPa Platinum IL'ite

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    @SGBV , wishing you a full recovery

    Post surgery is hard period, especially when we hit issues here and there after a period of time, it can dampen our spirit. Stay strong, you can do it.

    This! Menopause/peri menopause can be a struggle for most of us , even as the body is gradually moving into menopause. You had it overnight - it takes time for the body to adjust and settle. Be kind to yourself. This is your downtime, you will not be here for long.

    Food can be a comfort but unfortunately not the right one. Carvings especially caused by hormonal imbalances are a monster -- hard to overcome , again and again and again in the same day. Keep alternative snacks , keep away from fried/processed food. I would say even fresh fruit juices dont help -- the sugar is just too high. Fruit with the fiber is filling and makes you feel satiated. In my experience, cutting added sugars and keeping processed carbs to a minimum has been the most helpful -- not just in weight loss, but also in improving energy levels and and feeling very less bloating etc.

    Again dont be hard , try and stick to a healthy measured diet - and forgive yourself if and when you slip. Takes time, but you will get there.

    Try adding estrogen rich foods -- broccoli, flax seed power , eggs... may help

    . You do know this is what you really really need. A woman's work is never done -- but if you set your mind to it, you can do it. Remember , if the more you rest, the faster your body recovers, and more you can get done. A healthy you is important for your family.
    Not that you dont know all this, but sometimes , a woman needs to hear this--that it is ok to rest, is is ok to prioritise herself before her family.

    It is also ok too reach out to your gyne in case you are still not happy with the way things are.
     
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  10. 1Sandhya

    1Sandhya Platinum IL'ite

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    @SGBV no no this is not the time to have second thoughts. What is done is done and as I understand it was medically necessary.

    What you are undergoing, emotionally and physically are estrogen withdrawal symptoms. To fight it effectively you need to provide other brain chemicals like dopamine and other endorphins. The last thing you need is to develop an addiction to glucose. Trust me, a walk outside and doing the other tips from other posters will help produce the necessary chemicals to help you fight these feelings and physical symptoms. And as I said it’s not forever. It’s just a phase for 2-3 years and your body will adjust. Even if you have to force yourself go outside. Take a walk, deep breathing meditate. You will feel so good. Next day build on that. One day at a time. This should be your priority now.
     
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