HRT FOR NO UTERUS & NO OVARIES
Women who have had both the uterus and ovaries removed can benefit greatly from replacing lost hormones with Hormone Replacement. But what exactly do they need? The field of hormone replacement can sometimes seem quite difficult to navigate, but one main fact remains; whatever makes you feel your best is what your body needs. There is no one-size fits all hormone replacement, and each woman’s body is unique in what will give her the best possible quality of life. Some women will need to replace just estrogen as their adrenals seem to still make enough progesterone or testosterone, while some women will need to replace all three.
Estrogen is the main hormone that all women need to replace. It is the most predominant hormone in the female body, and the majority of menopausal issues can be attributed to deficient estrogen levels. Estrogen helps protect the bones, heart, and brain and gives women the feminine qualities they are accustomed to. It also regulates over 400 functions in the body, and estrogen deficiency can bring about a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. Replacing this top hormone can often bring about the relief a women needs.
Progesterone can be a little trickier. Some doctors have said, “No uterus, no progesterone.” And while we can understand why they are saying that, (progesterone helps thin and protect the uterine lining from a buildup of estrogen), they are not looking at the body as a whole. Many doctors also do not understand the difference between Progestins (artificial progesterone) and Progesterone (bio identical progesterone), and studies show that the combination of estrogen and progestin (synthetic) can cause increased risks of cancer and stroke. What doctors are missing, however, is that progesterone (the natural form) is often needed by many women post-hysterectomy. Progesterone protects the brain, including helping with “brain fog” caused by the excitatory effects of estrogen. Together, estrogen and progesterone can help balance neurotransmitters that help regulate appetite, sleep, pain, and moods. Progesterone also helps protect the nervous system and nerve endings that depend on the myelin sheath for neurotransmission speed. Progesterone also stimulates new bone growth, and offers protection from some cancers. It can offset the negative effects of estrogen like insomnia, water retention, and anxiety or nervousness. It also helps the body sleep better, and this is why most women will take progesterone at night. So, for some women, progesterone can be a very important part of their hormone replacement regimen, and seeking out a doctor that understands the importance of progesterone can be beneficial. Some women don’t do well with progesterone supplementation and it’s very possible that their adrenals continue to make an adequate amount of progesterone for their body despite ovarian removal.
The third hormone that sometimes needs replacing is Testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone that has the highest risk profile out of the three main hormones, and we suggest balancing estrogen and progesterone first, then working with a qualified doctor to see if your body needs testosterone. Testosterone can help with muscle strength, libido, and energy; however if used incorrectly, it can produce male type symptoms like clitoral enlargement, aggressions, hair growth, oily skin and acne. The reason we suggest balancing the other two hormones first is because the body can still make testosterone through the adrenal glands. When estrogen is low, the body will prioritize creating estrogen over any other hormone. The body often times will take the testosterone it is still producing and convert it into estrogen when it is low in estrogen. Frequently that will cause you to show a low level of testosterone on a lab test. When estrogen is adequately replaced and the body doesn’t need to convert testosterone into estrogen, you will see the testosterone level increase to a more normal range. You don’t want to replace testosterone if it’s not needed, as the side effects can be intense and long lasting, if not permanent.
Many doctors will also work with their patients to see if thyroid, DHEA, or any other hormones will need supplementation. Having the ovaries removed can cause a large ripple effect throughout the entire endocrine system, and each body needs it balanced in a different way, but it can take some patience and tweaking while working with your doctor.