Surgical Menopause

November 12, 2012

Surgical Menopause

A surgical menopause is when the menopause occurs as a reaction to a woman having her ovaries surgically removed. There are a number of factors that may result in the need of this procedure.

What is the menopause?

The menopause when it occurs naturally marks the ending of a woman’s monthly menstruation. It is a process that all women who reach the appropriate age will go through and can be described in three primary stages known as perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. However, some women experience factors that cause an induced menopause before it is able to occur naturally. Such causes of an induced include surgery and medical treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy in the pelvic region.

Surgical menopause

A bilateral oophorectomy is the name given to the surgical procedure in which a woman has her ovaries removed. This procedure results in the onset of a surgical menopause. When a surgical menopause occurs it is very abrupt and in the majority of cases, the symptoms experienced are significantly more severe than the similar symptoms that women experience when the menopause occurs naturally. There can be numerous reasons or conditions that can lead to a woman having her ovaries removed but in most cases it is a form of cancer that has causes the surgery to be required. This may be cancer of the uterus, the cervix or the ovaries themselves. Non-cancerous conditions that sometimes lead to a bilateral oophorectomy include uterine fibroids, endometriosis or various kinds of infection.

Surgical Procedures

There are several procedures that lead to surgical menopause due to the removal of the ovaries. For instance in some cases a patient undergoing a hysterectomy, which is the removal of the uterus may also have their ovaries removed at the same time. However, those who have a hysterectomy without removing the ovaries should not experience the side effect of surgical menopause. Abdominal resection, which is normally performed as treatment for colon and rectal cancer can include the complete or partial removal of the uterus, ovaries and rear vagina wall. Total pelvic exenteration is an extreme procedure that will only performed on patients with recurring cervical cancer. The procedure is the removal the majority of the patient’s pelvic organs.

Medical Treatments

As well as surgical menopause, certain medication can also result in symptoms of the menopause. Damage can be caused to the ovaries by treatments such as chemotherapy and pelvic radiation. However the damage is not always permanent and it is not guaranteed that every woman undergoing these procedures will suffer from an induced menopause.

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