How Will I Know I Am in Menopause After My Hysterectomy?
No periods for 12 months is the common sign that menopause has arrived. But what about for you? You’ve had a hysterectomy, so you have hadn’t periods in years. How are you going to know when menopause arrives?
No worries. More than likely, menopause is going to arrive with plenty of notice. More than you want.
Perimenopause is the beginning of your journey with menopause. It can start as early as 10-15 years before menopause.
One of the more obvious signs of perimenopause is irregular periods, but that can be hard to detect after a hysterectomy without bleeding. If you still have PMS after your hysterectomy, you may notice it becomes more intense. Or you may notice it occurs more or less often. Other symptoms begin subtly, too, so you may not recognize them at first. Over time, however, they’ll intensify and become more obvious.
Here are some of the symptoms you might experience:
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Weight gain
- Urinary urgency
- Leaking when coughing or sneezing
- Decreased libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain or discomfort with intercourse
There could be other changes going on, too, that you may not initially realize. Your bones may be losing density, putting you at risk for osteoporosis. Your cholesterol levels may be rising, increasing your risks for heart disease.
As you move closer to natural menopause, you may also start experiencing more symptoms. More common symptoms of menopause include:
- Brain fog
- Aches and pains
- More bladder issues
- Trouble sleeping
- Vaginal atrophy
- Increased issues with intimacy
If you start noticing any of the above symptoms, it’s time to talk to your doctor. She may order blood work to check your hormone levels, but one test might not be enough to determine menopause because your hormone levels can fluctuate wildly during perimenopause. While your FSH might be low today to indicate menopause, tomorrow it could be higher and show menopause is farther down the road.
Rather than rely on the lack of periods combined with elevated FSH levels to diagnose menopause, your doctor may diagnose you based on symptoms or multiple blood tests. Keeping a symptom diary can help the two of you figure out if menopause has well and truly arrived.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: How Will I Know I Am in Menopause after My Hysterectomy?