How to survive surgical menopause

Written by erin monahan
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Most women go through menopause slowly, with symptoms beginning a decade or more before the ovaries shut down completely. These symptoms usually become more bothersome as menopause approaches and can include hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, memory loss, digestive problems, vaginal dryness, depression and anxiety. The symptoms are the same for women who experience menopause due to the surgical removal of the ovaries, but they happen much more suddenly and can be more difficult to manage. Dealing with the surgery and its aftermath is easier if you are prepared.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Low-fat diet
  • Walking shoes
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium supplements
  • Oestrogen cream
  • Journal

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    How to Survive Surgical Menopause

  1. 1

    Consider a low-fat diet to lose weight prior to surgery. Weight gain is a common side effect of menopause because the metabolism naturally slows down once oestrogen is depleted. Losing weight, if you need to, can give you a lower starting point, and it also might help healing after surgery. When you are recovering from your surgery, eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. In addition, try to eat at least two servings of cold-water fish such as salmon or mackerel per week.; the omega-3 essential fatty acids in the fish will help protect your heart.

  2. 2

    Build your body with calcium. Osteoporosis is common after menopause, and women who experience an early menopause due to surgery have more years for the disease to develop. Combat it by taking calcium before and after your surgery. (Check with your doctor before taking calcium, especially before surgery.)

  3. 3

    Fight hot flushes and night sweats with vitamin E. Many women swear by this treatment for the hot flushes that affect up to 85 per cent of women, according to the experts at Menopause Time. The recommended dosage is 800 IUs of vitamin E per day, spread out in four doses.

  4. 4

    Consider oestrogen cream for vaginal dryness. This common symptom of menopause usually can be alleviated with prescription oestrogen cream that can help rebuild collagen. If you experience vaginal dryness, talk to your doctor about a prescription. The usual dosage is a daily application for a few weeks and then as needed, usually once or twice a week.

  5. 5

    Get walking. Your doctor probably will have you begin slowly walking soon after your surgery. Continue to do this at home, building speed as you heal. Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead to begin exercising, try to get in a 30-minute walk per day. The walk is a weight-bearing exercise to build your bones, and daily aerobic activity helps alleviate mild to moderate depression, according to a study by Dr. Fernando Dimeo in Germany.

  6. 6

    Journal your feelings. A journal is a good place to record your feelings about menopause, as well as your symptoms. Women who have gone through a surgical menopause often have feelings of sadness about an early loss of fertility and worry about the more difficult side effects of the surgery. Writing can help you process these feelings and also can be a record of your physical progress or problems, so that your health care provider can help you to heal.

  7. 7

    Discuss hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with your health care provider. Although there are some significant side effects, HRT can soften the severe symptoms of surgical menopause. Your doctor will be able to help you decide if this is a good plan for you based on your age and general health as well as the severity of your symptoms.

Tips and warnings

  • Try walking outside, because the vitamin D from the sun will help to improve your mood, too.
  • Women with high blood pressure and/or taking blood thinners should consult with their doctor before taking vitamin E.

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