What is hormonal imbalance after partial hysterectomy?
A partial hysterectomy causes less dramatic changes in hormone levels than a full hysterectomy does, but a partial hysterectomy can still cause a hormonal imbalance.
A partial hysterectomy may cause hormonal imbalance symptoms in some people that affect them both emotionally and physically.
If a hysterectomy is performed in which the uterus is removed but the ovaries are not, the body will still produce hormones, but at a lower level. Removal of the uterus without the ovaries causes less dramatic changes in hormone levels than a full hysterectomy does, but a partial hysterectomy can still cause a hormonal imbalance.
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers; they tell your body what to do, when, and for how long. They affect many different things like:
- Growth and development
- Sexual function
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance after partial hysterectomy
Learning to recognize hormonal imbalance signs and symptoms is an important part of preparing for a hysterectomy. Once you know what to look for, it’s much easier to detect and correct problems caused by changes in your hormone levels.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms to look out for:
Menopause happens when the ovaries stop producing enough hormones to continue menstruation (the monthly cycle in which the body prepares for pregnancy). While menopause usually begins around age 50, if you’ve had a hysterectomy including removal of the ovaries, you may enter premature menopause.
Hot flashes are the sensation of intense body heat on the face and neck, along with excessive sweating. When you’ve had your ovaries removed during a hysterectomy, you’re likely to have sudden and intense hot flashes.
Vaginal dryness or discomfort
Normally, the hormone estrogen helps the vagina stay lubricated with a thin layer of fluid. When hormone levels drop, it causes vaginal dryness, which can be uncomfortable and have an impact on your sex life. You may also experience vaginal itchiness or burning as a result of changes in hormone levels.
Poor sleep quality and sleep disturbances are common when there is a hormonal imbalance. Those dealing with hormonal imbalances often wake up several times throughout the night, resulting in poor sleep.
Estrogen plays an important role in how we think, helping us to remember words or process information more quickly. Lower estrogen can cause you to become more forgetful and have difficulty with concentration. You may have trouble performing more than one task at a time or find that you often feel “foggy."
Causes of partial hysterectomy and hormonal imbalance
A partial hysterectomy is commonly performed to treat a medical problem. Surgery is completed to remove the uterus and sometimes the ovaries, cervix, and fallopian tubes.
Women often choose this option when they’re experiencing:
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Generally, a menstrual period lasts up to seven days as your body sheds the uterus lining. If the bleeding lasts for more than seven days or if you have these signs of heavy bleeding, it could be a sign you need medical attention:
- Changing pads/tampons every one to two hours
- Getting up in the middle of the night to change pads/tampons
- Blood clots the size of a quarter or larger
- Feeling tired or shortness of breath
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that makes up the uterus’ lining begins to grow outside the uterus. The endometriosis growths swell and bleed each month, just like the lining of the uterus. This common condition can cause pain, bleeding or spotting, infertility, and digestive issues.
Hormonal imbalance may cause an increased risk of cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus). Women may experience heavy menstrual periods, pelvic pain, and pain during sex. Different treatment options are available, and a hysterectomy may be recommended.
Diagnosis of hormonal imbalance after partial hysterectomy
If you’re experiencing hormonal imbalance symptoms after a partial hysterectomy, your doctor will run one of the following tests to measure your hormone levels and determine the best treatment options:
- Saliva test
- Serum or blood testing
- Follicle-stimulating hormone testing
Treatments for hormonal imbalance after partial hysterectomy
If a hormonal imbalance is detected, you might be prescribed hormone therapy to help replace your body’s natural estrogen. Treatment is commonly available as a pill, skin patch, vaginal ring, or skin cream.
Receiving estrogen therapy also comes with some risks, such as stroke, blood clot (a clump of blood that’s turned from a liquid to a gel-like substance), and gallstones (hardened pieces of digestive fluid). Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best options available for you.