Definition of Surgical menopause

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Menopause, surgical: Surgical menopause is, not unexpectedly, menopause induced by surgery.

Surgical menopause is a type of induced menopause: menopause due to an unusual event. It is induced when the ovaries are surgically removed (by bilateral oophorectomy). Menopause can also be induced when the ovaries are gravely damaged by radiation, chemotherapy or other medications.

Induced menopause, surgical menopause included, is distinct from natural menopause which occurs when the ovaries naturally decrease their production of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone; there are no menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months; and no other biological or physiological cause can account for this phenomenon. Menopause is the end of the childbearing years.

Induced menopause, due to the abrupt cutoff of ovarian hormones, causes the sudden onset of hot flashes and other menopause-related symptoms such as a dry vagina and a decline in sex drive. Early menopause (before age 40) may carry a greater risk for heart disease and osteoporosis .

When the levels of hormones normally produced by the ovaries suddenly drop, changes associated with the menopause promptly take place: hot flashes (a sudden warm feeling with blushing), night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, fluctuations in sexual desire (libido), forgetfulness, trouble sleeping and fatigue, probably from loss of sleep.

Hormone therapy (HT) may be used to treat the symptoms of induced menopause. It reduces or stops the short-term changes of menopause such as hot flashes, disturbed sleep, and vaginal dryness.


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