People undergo a hysterectomy for many reasons. Our clinic knows that the years or months leading up to the decision to have your uterus removed can be a challenging time. We also understand the transition can be challenging and the treatment suggestions overwhelming.
Many people wonder whether they need progesterone after a hysterectomy. Although the answer is not always black and white, Dr. Edward Jacobson may be able to help clear up some of the confusion surrounding post-hysterectomy hormone treatment.
When menopause occurs, hormones produced by the ovaries decline gradually, allowing for a slower and more subtle onset of symptoms. When someone undergoes a hysterectomy that includes the removal of their ovaries, symptom onset is rapid and more intense. In this case, progesterone replacement therapy can significantly improve symptoms and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.
Whether or not a doctor removes the ovaries will depend on the reason for the hysterectomy. Patients who have only their uterus removed will no longer menstruate but also won’t experience symptoms of menopause and therefore may not need hormone replacement therapy with estrogen or progesterone after their hysterectomy. However, individuals who undergo hysterectomies tend to experience menopause a few years younger than average.
If the uterus is absent, estrogen is usually enough to treat symptoms of surgically induced or natural menopause. However, there may be a need for progesterone in patients with estrogen-dependent conditions who have had a hysterectomy. Estrogen-dependent conditions like endometriosis, for example, can worsen by unopposed estrogen.
Some studies have shown a neurological benefit of progesterone. Additionally, progesterone may increase thyroid function. The thyroid plays a critical role in moods, metabolism, and energy. Estrogen can increase a certain protein that binds thyroid hormones, decreasing this vital hormone in the bloodstream. Because each case is unique, every patient should consult with a skilled physician to determine their ideal treatment.
If a hysterectomy is appropriate for you, your ovaries may or may not need to be removed along with your uterus. When the ovaries are removed, known as an oophorectomy, the abrupt onset of menopausal symptoms can be more intense than when natural menopause occurs. Because of this, most patients who undergo a hysterectomy and oophorectomy report an easier transition when receiving hormone replacement therapy after surgery.
Meeting with a trained medical professional like Dr. Jacobson can help you decide the best course of action for your specific needs. It is helpful to come prepared with any questions you have to get all your concerns addressed, such as whether you will need progesterone after a hysterectomy. Reach out to our office today for more information on the best course of action for your situation.