Can a total hysterectomy cause postmenopause?

Julia Schlam Edelman
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
In surgical terms, a total hysterectomy represents the surgical removal of the uterus and the cervix. It does not indicate the status of the ovaries -- which is what determines postmenopausal status. The surgical procedure that produces postmenopause is a bilateral oophorectomy, or the removal of both ovaries.

You could have a "total hysterectomy" at age 42, but if you have healthy ovaries and they are not surgically removed, you will not become postmenopausal at that time. The ovaries will continue to make normal amounts of estrogen and progesterone and to release follicles that are absorbed into the abdominal cavity. As long as you have even one functional ovary remaining, you are still perimenopausal. The remaining ovary will take over and continue to manufacture hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.