Each year around 700,000 women are put into Surgical Menopause in the United States alone. Surgical Menopause is defined as the surgical removal of ovaries the by bilateral oophorectomy, as well as ovaries damaged beyond repair due to radiation, chemotherapy or other medications.
Surgical Menopause and Natural Menopause are very different animals and it is important not to view them as interchangeable. In Natural Menopause women’s ovaries continue to produce estrogen and progesterone, just at a lower rate than in their fertile years. Natural menopause typically occurs between the ages of 35 to 51 (though it can happen earlier or later) and is defined by the cessation of menses for 12 months and the inability to bear children.Finally, women in natural menopause experience physical changes alongside side effects that correspond with the body’s natural aging process.
In Surgical Menopause, however a woman immediately goes into post-menopause as well as estrogen withdrawal and their hormones plummet as there ceases to be production of estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries. Therefore, the shock to the body as well as the impact to the various systems that require hormones for proper function is much more severe than in natural menopause. As such, the necessity for ongoing medical care and in many cases Hormone Replacement Therapy (also known as HRT or ERT) should be considered, given the important role hormones play in the body.