I had a hysterectomy recently and my ovaries are still in. I am having off and on low mood swings and can't figure out if its hormonal or not and what to do? After a hysterectomy, (with ovaries remaining) what is a woman to expect about her cycle and the whole PMS deal, emotional upheaval etc.?
Good question. I cannot answer about your specific situation because I do not know your medical history. However, there are lots of women in your position. In general, when the uterus and cervix are removed and the ovaries are left in your hormones will still be cycling in the way that they were prior to the surgery - there will be no menstruation of course. Anybody who had PMS or other symptoms before the surgery may continue to have them afterwards. An exception might be that if the person is in their mid-40s and headed into menopause. In that case the cycle might change anyway, surgery on no surgery.
What to do? As I mentioned in my last newsletter (February 2009) regarding PMS, many symptoms regarding mood can be due to an estrogen/progesterone imbalance. Even though the ovaries may be decreasing their hormone output, the ratio of estrogen to progesterone can have a significant effect on mood. Both estrogen and progesterone bind to receptors on different cells and send signals to those cells. These receptors are on many cells including brain cells. So estrogen and progesterone both affect mood. My advice would be to seek the services of a natural physician or naturopath in your area and have the salivary levels of your progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones measured. If any of these are out of balance you may need to take some natural hormones in order to bring them back into balance. These are called 'bioidentical' hormones because they are natural to the body and they can be given in dosages that your body is used to. They are totally different and probably much safer than the hormones known as Premarin and Provera that are synthetic, and can increase your risk of heart disease.
In terms of your diet it should be as vegetarian as possible with an emphasis on soy products, detoxifying herbs such as curcumins, and plenty of fresh ground flaxseed. Kudzu extract also contains a number of useful isoflavones, including genestein and daidzin, that are also contained and soy.These have estrogen balancing effects.
For further information about this and how to regulate your system during menopause and pre-menopause I recommend the following book: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Pre-Menopause ~ Balancing your hormones and your life from thirty to fifty by John R. Lee, M.D., Jesse Hanley, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins. You can also visit Dr. Lee's website at www.johnleemd.com and consider signing up for my free Healthy Tips Newsletter at www.arfe.ca