Surgical menopause or induced menopause is completely different from natural menopause. Unlike natural menopause, in which the production of primary female sex hormones like progesterone and estrogen tapers off gradually, induced menopause is characterized by the abrupt cessation of the ovarian hormones.
This in turn can lead to a swift onset of symptoms which are typically associated with menopause including dryness of the vagina, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, reduced libido and / or palpitations.
An Insight into Surgical Menopause
The surgical procedure known as bilateral oophorectomy is employed to remove the ovaries of premenopausal women who are diagnosed with cervical, ovarian or endometrial cancer. Bilteral oophorectomy may also be recommended to women who are suffering from endometriosis, uterine fibroids or uterine infections.
A sudden disruption of sex hormones due to surgical interference can lead to menopausal symptoms which are more severe and typically last longer than when a woman attains natural menopause. Today, many young women in their late thirties and early forties are experiencing the negative effects of surgical menopause because of cancer or uterine diseases.
Main Effects of Surgical Menopause
Surgical menopause unleashes not just a host of unpleasant physical symptoms, but it can also trigger numerous psychological problems in women as well. Women who have had their ovaries removed surgically will experience the numerous problems associated with menopause overnight. With little or no time to prepare their bodies and mind to the permanent cessation of the monthly menstrual cycle these women have to battle a lot of inner turmoil.
The main effects of surgical menopause are described below.
One of the immediate effects of surgical menopause is the abrupt onset of hot flashes. The sudden onset of hot flashes due to surgical menopause is linked to the sudden, complete cessation of the primary female sex hormone estrogen. Other physical effects of surgical menopause include extreme joint pain, debilitating fatigue, pounding headaches and inability to get sleep at night or insomnia.
Women who are having surgical menopause may also experience vaginal dryness. The vaginal dryness is the result of sudden estrogen deficiency. Extreme vaginal dryness can make sexual intercourse a terribly painful affair. A sudden decline in the levels of the hormone estrogen can also affect bladder control. The muscles which control the bladder become progressively weaker. As a result a woman might feel the need to relieve herself more frequently.
A sudden withdrawal of estrogen can also increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Surgical menopause can also lead to a sudden and significant thinning of the bones, thereby increasing the chances of fractures.
Women who are undergoing surgical menopause will experience a variety of psychological symptoms ranging from the mild to downright extreme. The milder psychological effects of surgical menopause include a sudden rise in anxiety levels accompanied by bouts of extreme nervousness.
Some of the severe negative psychological effects of menopause include feelings of depression, severe mood swings and even harboring suicidal tendencies. Regular counseling by a qualified therapist can assuage some of the negative psychological effects of surgical menopause.
Change in Appearance
Like in natural menopause, surgical menopause can also lead to excessive weight gain. Women who have had their ovaries removed surgically may notice a sudden increase in body weight. They may also notice fat accumulation around the abdominal region.
The skin will become extremely dry and rough. Few women who have undergone bilateral oophorectomy may also observe their skin appearing patchy or having a blotchy appearance. Excessive facial hair growth is another problem of surgical menopause.
The memory problems associated with surgical menopause is a very real and not an imaginary problem. The dramatic drop in estrogen levels due to surgery can lead to memory lapses ranging from mild to severe. Medical research has shown that memory problems associated with surgical menopause are most severe in the first year following surgical removal of ovaries .
Memory lapses can lead to a lot of frustration and depressive feeling in women who are experiencing surgical menopause. These women have to be assured of the fact that the memory lapses they may be experiencing is just a temporary glitch which will go away with time.
Loss of Libido
Drop in estrogen levels can affect a woman’s normal sex drive. Loss of libido or decreased sex drive is a normal side effect of surgical menopause. Unlike natural menopause where the loss of libido or decreased sex drive is a gradual process, women who have had their ovaries removed surgically may experience these symptoms all of a sudden.
These are just some of the unpleasant effects of surgical menopause.