Progesterone After Hysterectomy – What You Need to Know

Happy woman having decided about progesterone after hysterectomy
Medically Reviewed
April 25, 2024

Deciding to undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after a hysterectomy is not a given. In addition, deciding whether to include progesterone after hysterectomy or adopt an estrogen-only approach complicates the issue.

If that’s you, we’ve gathered all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether you should boost progesterone after hysterectomy.

Keep reading to unravel the factors you should consider before deciding. We’ll explore the potential benefits of incorporating progesterone into your post-surgical treatment in the context of hormonal imbalance and its impact on your quality of life.

Let’s start by briefly understanding why you need hormones after a hysterectomy.

What Happens to Your Hormones After a Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy – or surgical removal of your uterus and, in some cases, its surrounding organs, including your cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes – is one of the most common procedures performed on women. It’s also one that causes a significant impact.

Whether you had a hysterectomy to address a gynecological condition, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic organ prolapse, abnormal uterine bleeding, or certain cancers, one thing is sure. It’ll take a toll on your hormonal balance, leading to physical, emotional, and practical implications for you.

This is especially true if your ovaries were also removed (oophorectomy). In that case, hormonal balance undergoes a significant shift, as the ovaries are a primary source of estrogen and progesterone – two essential hormones that regulate various reproductive and overall health aspects.

The sudden decline in hormone levels post-hysterectomy can trigger menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and increased risk of osteoporosis. And that’s where HRT may be helpful. That’s why we’re looking at a decrease in, or lack of, estrogen and progesterone after hysterectomy.

The Role of Progesterone

Progesterone plays a crucial role in your reproductive health and overall wellbeing. It’s an essential hormone for preparing your uterine lining for potential pregnancy, supporting embryo implantation, and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

But beyond its reproductive functions, progesterone also influences various physiological processes. These include bone density regulation, mood stabilization, and immune system modulation. Low progesterone can show up in these symptoms.

What About Progesterone After Hysterectomy?

In post-hysterectomy women, the sudden absence of progesterone production can significantly impact health. This triggers menopausal symptoms, as mentioned above, and increases the risk of health conditions stemming from estrogen dominance.

For that reason, we recommend an assessment by your healthcare provider to decide if progesterone after hysterectomy is right for you. There are reasons both for and against, as we’ll now explain.

Hormone Replacement Therapy After Hysterectomy

Hormone Replacement Therapy may include estrogen alone or a combination of estrogen and progesterone after hysterectomy. Doctors often prescribe HRT to alleviate unwanted symptoms of natural or surgical menopause. This is to mitigate the long-term health risks associated with hormonal deficiency, such as bone loss and cardiovascular disease.

The traditional HRT approach for post-hysterectomy women who had only the uterus removed typically involves the administration of estrogen alone. That’s because the primary function of progesterone is to regulate your menstrual cycle. Since you’ll no longer have periods, there’s a general misconception that progesterone doesn’t need to be replaced.

But if you had an oophorectomy, a combination of estrogen and progesterone may be a better option. The reason is that the sudden drop in progesterone levels may trigger other symptoms, like mood changes, depression, and anxiety.

Moreover, scientists and doctors believe progesterone has a protective effect against certain types of cancer in post-hysterectomy women – it helps to counterbalance the effects of estrogen on your endometrium (the lining of your uterus). This reduces the risk of endometrial hyperplasia and uterine cancer.

So, how do you find out if you need progesterone after hysterectomy? Read on to get the information you need to decide.

Do You Need Progesterone After Hysterectomy?

The necessity for progesterone supplementation after hysterectomy depends on many factors, including the specific reason you had the surgery, your overall health, symptoms, and personal preferences.

Let’s break down some key considerations.

1 Reason for Hysterectomy

If you had a hysterectomy to address conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or cancer, the need for progesterone may be different than if the surgery was solely for non-cancerous reasons like uterine prolapse.

For instance, your hysterectomy may have been due to endometriosis, which can involve abnormal growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. In this case, progesterone might still be necessary post-surgery to manage any remaining endometrial tissue or hormonal imbalances.

2 Ovarian Status

As we said, if your ovaries were removed during the hysterectomy (oophorectomy), this can induce surgical menopause, which leads to a sudden decline in estrogen and progesterone levels.

In such cases, your doctor may recommend HRT that includes both estrogen and progesterone after hysterectomy to alleviate menopausal symptoms and reduce your risk of certain health conditions like osteoporosis.

3 Health Considerations

Some women may have underlying health conditions that influence the decision to use progesterone after hysterectomy.

For example, suppose you have a history of hormone-sensitive breast cancer. In that case, your healthcare provider may recommend against using HRT with progesterone due to concerns about potential cancer recurrence.

4 Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatment Goals

The presence of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or mood changes may also influence your decision to use progesterone or other forms of hormone replacement therapy.

Ultimately, the decision regarding supplementing with progesterone after hysterectomy should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider. They can evaluate your medical history, current health status, and treatment goals.

It’s essential to weigh the potential benefits and risks of hormone therapy and consider alternative management strategies tailored to your unique needs. Regular monitoring and follow-up are also crucial to assess treatment efficacy, manage side effects, and optimize your overall health and wellbeing.

Nava Can Help Restore Hormonal Balance After Hysterectomy

Coping with all the changes post-hysterectomy can be difficult. But we’re here to help you recover at any stage. At Nava Health, we prioritize a whole-body view of your wellbeing.

So, if you’re on a post-hysterectomy journey, we offer a personalized BHRT approach – including targeted progesterone supplementation to address your hormonal imbalances after hysterectomy if appropriate for you.

Our experience is that, with the right integrative support, you can view hysterectomy not as the end of the road but the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Book your consultation today, in person or via telehealth, and let’s talk.

Image attribution

Article Name
Progesterone After Hysterectomy – What You Need to Know
Read everything you need to know to make an informed decision about whether you should boost progesterone after hysterectomy.