Hysterectomy and PCOS
It is a large myth that a hysterectomy is a cure for the millions of women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). As the name implies, PCOS does involve the ovaries, a source of excess androgens and the frustrating and unwanted symptoms that go with it.
It would then seem likely that removal of the ovaries would cure PCOS. However much is now know about PCOS beyond the ovaries and how it changes with age. Here’s what women with PCOS should know about the pros and cons of a hysterectomy and why women can still suffer from the hormonal effects of PCOS even with their ovaries removed.
Hysterectomy and PCOS
A total hysterectomy is an invasive surgery in which the whole uterus and cervix are removed. Sometimes the ovaries and/or Fallopian tubes may also be removed during a hysterectomy.
A partial hysterectomy is when the upper part of the uterus is removed, but the cervix is left in place. Both surgeries can be done laparoscopicly or through manual incision in the abdomen and require approximately six weeks of recovery time.
Some women opt for a it as a method of preventing pregnancy. In this case, a hysterectomy may be performed during a c-section. But in most instances, it may be medically needed if you have fibroids, severe endometriosis, excessively heavy periods, severe pelvic pain, or uterine prolapse and may be needed if you suffer from cancer in the reproductive organs (uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, or ovaries).
Why it isn’t a Cure for PCOS
Having a hysterectomy results in what’s called surgical menopause. Your periods stop immediately. Hormone levels drop quickly as compared with the natural and gradual decline seen in menopause. Women who have had a hysterectomy but still have their ovaries, will see a decline in hormone levels and reach menopause earlier. Women who have their ovaries also removed during a hysterectomy will experience greater losses in estrogen and progesterone, which are hormones produced by the ovaries. Here’s some of the problems caused by the loss of these hormones.
Complications associated with a hysterectomy:
- increased vaginal dryness
- low sex drive
- mood changes
- insomnia or trouble sleeping
- hot flashes
- urinary incontinence
It also puts a woman at greater risk for osteoporosis due to the loss in estrogen
A hysterectomy is not a cure for PCOS and here’s why.
Androgens are still being produced.
For women with PCOS who have had a hysterectomy and her ovaries removed, she will still experience the long-term effects of having elevated androgens (male sex hormones like testosterone). The adrenal glands also produce testosterone and may be stressed to produce more to keep up with the loss of ovarian production. This means a woman may still suffer from excess hair growth, hair loss or balding, or even acne.
Metabolic problems persist.
While PCOS is a reproductive disorder, it’s also an endocrine disorder. Most women with PCOS have higher levels of insulin and inflammation than women without PCOS. If not well managed, excessive levels of insulin and inflammation can lead to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes and increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and fatty liver disease. A quick loss of sex hormone conjointly will increase the danger for these complications.
It will not cure these complications but rather an antioxidant rich whole foods based eating style, regular exercise, good sleep, and stress management will. The right supplements can also help (see below).
Sometimes a hysterectomy is necessary but it’s always worth seeking a second opinion if a hysterectomy has been recommended to you. Depending on the medical problem, there are alternatives to a hysterectomy to relieve pain, heavy periods, or fibroids.
You can also read our last blog on Natural remedies for acne due to pcos:-
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