A hysterectomy, or surgical removal of the uterus, is a common medical procedure. It is often combined with an oophorectomy, which is the removal of the ovaries.
When these parts of the woman reproductive tract are removed, it often creates a hormone imbalance. In many cases, a doctor will prescribe hormone replacement therapy, such as oestrogen or progestin. If only the hysterectomy has been performed, then progestin won’t be necessary. Progestin is absolutely necessary when the ovaries have also been removed as it greatly reduces the risk of cancer.
It is believed that hormone therapy, especially added oestrogen, is necessary for preventing cancer in younger women who have had a hysterectomy. There have been fears involving hormone therapy following hysterectomies and oophorectomies, but these fears have been mostly unfounded and only applied to HRT in older women. It is now understood that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is crucial for preventing Parkinson’s disease and dementia following these procedures.
HRT following the removal of the uterus or ovaries is also a common way to prevent osteoporosis and colorectal cancer, as it ensures the bone density levels stay where they are supposed to be.
There are some risks for older women who receive hormone therapy following menopause and the removal of their ovaries and uterus. The health risks are primarily cardiovascular-related. There is a chance that artificially boosting oestrogen levels would create heart problems, but this risk tends to go away after receiving the hormone therapy for a while.
Younger women – those under 50 – should consider coupling HRT with a hysterectomy procedure. The benefits are considerable, and while they are not definitive, by any means, they lower the statistical risk of several health problems later in life.
If hormone replacement therapy could put you at risk of health problems of any kind, a doctor may recommend natural alternatives, such as changes in diet or weight to combat your low hormone levels.