It is estimated that 600,000 women undergo hysterectomies each year. Of these 600,000 women, only 10% require the procedure as a treatment for suspected or diagnosed cancer. Not all 600,000 women will have the ovaries removed, which means menopause is prevented – or is it? Experts disagree on the impact of uterine hysterectomy on early menopause, so how is a woman to decide whether or not keeping her ovaries is really worth the risk?
Will Uterine Removal Cause Early Menopause?
If you ask Dr. Mehmet Oz, removing the uterus has no impact on menopause timing. The doctor claims, “Removal of the uterus alone, does not trigger menopause.” While that statement is true, removing the uterus does not cause menopause, it does not answer the question of whether or not uterine removal causes early menopause.
Studies have shown, according to Dr. John Lipman and the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, early menopause may occur for some women who have a hysterectomy removing only the uterus. Prostaglandins, produced in the uterus, are required for normal ovarian function. Without the prostaglandins the ovaries do not function properly and fail early. It is estimated that women will go through menopause about four years earlier, but that doesn’t mean these women are going through early menopause.
Early menopause is defined as menopause that completes before the age of 45. If the hysterectomy is done very early in life, say the mid-30s, there is a chance of early menopause. If the hysterectomy is completed when the woman is in her mid-40s, she is likely already in perimenopause with early menopause being less of a threat.
Just because you have your uterus removed via hysterectomy does not mean you will experience early menopause, but there is a chance it could happen. Hysterectomy, by straight definition, is the removal of the uterus and the uterus does not control menopause. Therefore, hysterectomies are not associated with menopause unless the ovaries are removed.