A hysterectomy can often lead to menopause sooner than normal, causing women to experience symptoms like hot flashes. While a hysterectomy is a procedure that removes the uterus, it does not directly cause menopause unless the ovaries are also removed.
What Are Hot Flashes?
Having a hysterectomy can result in episodes of hot flashes, which are abrupt sensations of extreme heat in the upper body. Hot flashes are usually accompanied by an irregular heartbeat, flushing in the chest, neck, and face, and often excessive sweating. The severity of hot flashes will also vary.
Hot flashes are classified as:
Mild. Barely noticeable and don't interfere with daily routine.
Moderate. More intense and noticeable.
Severe. Intense episodes that force women to seek immediate relief.
How Long Do Hot Flashes Last after a Hysterectomy?
The duration of a hot flash episode after a partial or total hysterectomy is different for each woman. They can last anywhere between thirty seconds to five minutes. Episodes can occur sporadically for several years after surgery.
Why Do Hot Flashes Occur After a Hysterectomy?
Estrogen levels can decrease after having a hysterectomy even more if you have your ovaries removed as well. This causes the hypothalamus to detect an increased body temperature and release compounds that make the blood vessels near the skin dilate so that the heat can be released, otherwise known as a hot flash.
Other symptoms, such as dizziness and irregular heartbeat, can occur post-hysterectomy. They usually start decreasing in severity and frequency after menopause, but in rare cases, some women may experience them for the rest of their lives.
Managing Hot Flashes
Hysterectomy and hot flashes are linked because of the reduced estrogen levels in a woman's body after the procedure. The following are various approaches that can reduce the severity of hot flash episodes:
Regular exercise. The most important way to keep a healthy and balanced body is to exercise consistently. An ideal exercise routine for hot flashes are aqua-aerobics or swimming laps, as they help keep the body cool. However, any cardiovascular activity will enhance the body's ability to regulate its own temperature.
Healthy lifestyle. Make sure to feed your body only the most nutrient-rich foods possible. Hormones are directly affected by diet, and foods that throw your levels off balance will result in more severe hot flashes. For example, try incorporating phytoestrogen-rich foods such as tofu, rice bran, and chickpeas to help balance hormones.
Appropriate apparel. Wear light, breathable clothing to help keep the body cool.
Reorganize your schedule. Take your showers in the morning to be able to face the day feeling fresh. Likewise, make sure you get to any appointment five minutes early, as this will prevent last-minute sprints and their corresponding hot flashes.
Since low estrogen levels after a hysterectomy are the primary cause of women's hot flashes, additional changes may be required. Leading a healthy lifestyle in addition to a hormone-balancing program is the most effective way to treat hot flashes after a hysterectomy. Consult your doctor to find out what the best plan of action is for you.
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