When both ovaries and the uterus are removed (hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy) prior to menopause the woman goes into what’s termed ‘surgical menopause’. Natural menopause is a gradual process, but surgical menopause is sudden, and this often causes much more severe symptoms.
Most people consider estrogen and progesterone the ‘female’ hormones and testosterone the ‘male’ hormone. And it is true that men produce much more testosterone than women, but the ovaries also produce testosterone and it is essential to women’s health.
Unfortunately, most doctors ignore this fact, and even believe that women can do without testosterone. When the ovaries have been removed, the adrenal glands still produce some testosterone, but often the levels aren’t high enough for the woman’s wellbeing. Women suffer a range of symptoms due to low testosterone, but doctors will often blame symptoms on the lack of estrogen. They then supplement with estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) often making symptoms worse.
Symptoms of low testosterone after surgical menopause can be mild or debilitating, and have a serious effect on quality of life. The most common symptoms of low estrogen after surgical menopause are:
Decreased libido / loss of sex drive
Inability to achieve orgasm
Loss of muscle mass and tone
Weight gain and inability to lose weight despite diet and exercise
Fatigue, decreased energy levels
Irritability /mood changes
Cognitive disfunction / brain fog
There are treatments for these symptoms, various forms of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Testosterone can be supplemented via injections, pellets inserted under the skin and creams or gels applied to the skin daily.