Using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or keeping one or both ovaries has little effect on the menopausal symptoms of women who have had a hysterectomy, says a US study.

In the study, based on the experiences of over 1000 American women from Maryland, researchers failed to find a different experience between those who had a hysterectomy before menopause and those who had the operation after natural menopause. Nor is it known whether retaining one or both ovaries at the time of surgery effects symptoms such as hot flushes.

In the study, more than 40 per cent of pre-menopausal women underwent bilateral oophrectomy (removal of both ovaries), and of these, 89 per cent were on HRT three months after hysterectomy. After two years this figure dropped slightly to 85 per cent.

Researchers conclude that the symptoms and tolerance of HRT after hysterectomy are unpredictable. This research may suggest that the mechanism of side effects of menopause, such as hot flushes, may have other origins than the ovaries and so isn’t affected by HRT (Medical Monitor, Feb 1998: 32).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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