How do Doctors Use Hormone Replacement Therapy After a Hysterectomy?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Doctors often recommend hormone replacement therapy after a hysterectomy. These drugs are used to help reduce the symptoms of menopause a woman may face after the surgical removal of her reproductive organs. Hormone replacement therapy may help with the reduction of hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats. This type of treatment may also be used to prevent vaginal dryness, the development of osteoporosis, and even heart disease.

Female reproductive system.
Female reproductive system.

When a woman has a hysterectomy, her uterus is removed, and she is no longer able to bear children. In some cases, her ovaries are removed as well. Having a hysterectomy typically translates into early menopause for the patient. If the uterus and the ovaries were removed, a woman will typically begin menopause after the surgery. If only the uterus is removed, however, a woman may begin menopause at a later date, yet still earlier than normal.

Hormone replacement therapy is used to treat conditions like osteoporosis.
Hormone replacement therapy is used to treat conditions like osteoporosis.

Beginning hormone replacement therapy after a hysterectomy cannot stop a woman from going through menopause, but it can help to minimize or slow many of the unpleasant symptoms that are related to it. After a hysterectomy, a doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy to help a woman deal with some of the most common symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and night sweats. This type of therapy may even help a woman experience fewer of the mood swings that are typically associated with menopause. Additionally, hormone replacement therapy after a hysterectomy may help improve vaginal dryness. Some studies even show that it may help prevent heart disease and osteoporosis.

Usually, hormone replacement therapy after a hysterectomy involves supplementation with estrogen. Doctors may prescribe the hormone estrogen in pill form, but it can also be administered through patches, creams, and suppositories. There are even vaginal rings that can be used to deliver estrogen to a woman’s body after a hysterectomy. Hormone replacement therapy may be different for women who have not had hysterectomies and often includes supplementation with both estrogen and progestin, which is progesterone in a synthetic form.

Unfortunately, hormone replacement isn’t without risk. Women who use hormone replacement therapy after a hysterectomy may be at increased risk of stroke and blood clots. Studies have also shown an increased risk of abnormal changes in one’s breast tissue when hormone therapy is used. Women who have not had hysterectomies and use a combination form of hormone therapy may face different risks. In each case, a doctor may help a woman decide whether the benefits of hormone treatment outweigh the risks.

Following a hysterectomy, some women experience the hot flashes usually associated with menopause.
Following a hysterectomy, some women experience the hot flashes usually associated with menopause.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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