Can You Get PCOS After Hysterectomy?

woman consulting with doctor about possible PCOS after hysterectomy
Medically Reviewed
March 7, 2024

If you have PCOS, you may wonder if having a hysterectomy can cure your condition or at least prevent it from getting worse. Or you may even worry that you can develop PCOS after hysterectomy. In this post, we’ll answer the most pressing questions we hear, starting with a brief recap:

  • What is PCOS?
  • What is a hysterectomy, and why is it done?
  • Does PCOS go away after hysterectomy?
  • Can you get PCOS after a hysterectomy?
  • PCOS treatment after hysterectomy?

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex endocrine disorder that affects millions of women of reproductive age worldwide. Its characteristics are

  • irregular menstrual periods,
  • elevated levels of male hormones (androgens), and often
  • cysts on the ovaries.

But because it’s an endocrine disorder, the condition extends beyond the effects on your reproductive organs, and you may have other symptoms including:

  • Excess hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Infertility
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and endometrial cancer
  • Mood disorders

Doctors believe several factors play a role in PCOS, such as insulin resistance, increased levels of inflammation in your body, or heredity. It seems the condition mostly stems from hormone imbalances and metabolism issues.

What is a Hysterectomy, and Why is it Done?

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your uterus. Sometimes, your cervix is also removed. This is called a total hysterectomy. In some cases, the surgeon will decide to also remove your ovaries and fallopian tubes. You may need this surgery for various reasons, such as:

  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Fibroids (benign tumors in the uterus that can cause bleeding, pain, and infertility)
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Cancer of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, or fallopian tubes

A hysterectomy in itself is not a cure for PCOS but can be a way to deal with certain uterine issues.

Does PCOS Go Away After Hysterectomy?

Your ovaries play a key role in PCOS, as they produce excess androgens. But they’re not the only source of androgens in your body: Your adrenal glands contribute, and fat tissue can also produce serum androgens. Therefore, removing the ovaries during a hysterectomy does not necessarily eliminate your androgen excess or the other aspects of PCOS.

Let’s unpack this a little more.

PCOS Symptoms After Hysterectomy

The effect of a hysterectomy on PCOS symptoms depends on whether the surgeon removes your ovaries or not – and on your age and menopausal status.

Hysterectomy without Ovary Removal

PCOS after hysterectomy without removing your ovaries will not go away. Your ovaries will continue to produce androgens and affect your hormone balance. However, you will no longer have periods, which can be a relief if you suffer from heavy or painful bleeding. And you will also have no risk of endometrial cancer. You may still experience the other symptoms of PCOS and still have a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Hysterectomy with Ovary Removal

If you have a hysterectomy with ovary removal, you’ll enter surgical menopause, which means that your hormone levels will drop suddenly, and you will stop producing estrogen and progesterone. Removing your ovaries can therefore reduce the androgen excess in your body, improve some of the symptoms of PCOS, and lower your risk of ovarian cancer.

But losing your ovaries triggers menopausal symptoms:

  • Hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness
  • Mood swings, depression, and anxiety
  • Low sex drive
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis

At the same time, the adrenal glands in your body might produce even more androgens to make up for the loss of ovarian production.

Hysterectomy After Natural Menopause

If you have a hysterectomy after natural menopause, you will not experience a sudden change in your hormone levels, as your ovaries have already stopped producing estrogen and progesterone. You may still have some residual androgens in your body that cause some of the symptoms of PCOS.

You can see from the above information that it is not possible to give a straight yes or no to whether you can get PCOS after hysterectomy.

Can You Develop PCOS After Hysterectomy?

If you undergo a hysterectomy that involves the removal of the ovaries, it is very unlikely that you can develop PCOS after having a hysterectomy. If your ovaries are not removed, and you are of reproductive age, there is a slight chance of getting PCOS after hysterectomy. And if you already have PCOS, you may continue to have a few symptoms.

Your body is unique and at Nava Health we can provide you with a personalized plan so you can manage both PCOS symptoms and post-hysterectomy issues. Give us a call if you’d like to talk more. But here are some tips to help you.

How to Treat PCOS After Hysterectomy

As we’ve indicated, undergoing a hysterectomy does not guarantee the complete resolution of PCOS symptoms. This is because PCOS is influenced by factors beyond the ovaries, including insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances.

In cases where your ovaries are removed and menopausal symptoms arise, a multifaceted approach is often recommended:

  • Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to replenish and balance testosterone, estrogen and progesterone levels.
  • A balanced diet rich in whole foods, low in processed sugars, and high in fiber.
  • Regular physical activity focusing on cardio and strength.
  • Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake.
  • Taking supplements (vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids) to support bone density and cardiovascular health.

In cases when a) you have PCOS after a hysterectomy with no ovaries removed and b) you’ve made lifestyle adjustments that have not improved your symptoms, your healthcare professional might advise:

  • Medication to reduce your PCOS symptoms or
  • Possible surgery (laparoscopic ovarian drilling) to destroy ovarian tissue responsible for producing excess androgens.

PCOS Weight Loss After Hysterectomy

We’ve mentioned above about serum androgens in fat tissue, and weight management is a common concern if you have PCOS. Despite the removal of your uterus, the hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance associated with PCOS after hysterectomy can still pose challenges to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. But with the right strategies, weight loss can be effective post-hysterectomy.

PCOS Management: Nava Can Help You

A hysterectomy is not a cure for PCOS, and it may not eliminate all of the symptoms of PCOS. Before deciding to have surgery, make sure to discuss your options with an experienced healthcare provider. Our doctors and clinical nutritionists at Nava Health are experienced in dealing with all aspects of hysterectomy and PCOS. Schedule an appointment and let’s discuss your options so you can unlock your healthiest you!

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A Medical Director, and one of the first physicians to join the Nava Health & Vitality Center, Dr. Douglas Lord has made significant contributions to our Center and its founding principles. Dr. Lord has helped develop and implement the Nava Method™—Nava’s proprietary approach to total body wellness. He has also been instrumental in liaising with other expert practitioners to successfully implement Nava’s range of therapies, treatments, and products.

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Can You Get PCOS After Hysterectomy?
Wondering if a hysterectomy cures PCOS or if you can get PCOS after hysterectomy? We answer the most pressing questions we hear. Learn more!