PREPARING FOR A HYSTERECTOMY
I can only appreciate what a decision this has been for you and I want you to have the best support possible for this incredible change that you're going to go through. The hope is that you will feel so much better after having the operation, as the cause for having it and the discomfort and pain you've gone through will be removed. However what the doctors may not tell you is that menopausal symptoms can appear as soon as 48 hours after the operation, and I want you to be as prepared as you can be for this. The symptoms that appear are both physical changes and very strong emotional ones, you maybe taken completely by surprise that feelings such as anxiety, overwhelm, anger and crying appear overnight.
I hope you will have had a talk with your specialist about whether HRT is appropriate or not, and if they haven't brought it up, you can ! Whether you do take it or not varies on your specific circumstances but what I want you to know is that you should also prepare yourself for your very best health for before the procedure, your time recouperating and your long term health.
There are valid concerns about post menopausal women getting osteoporosis and heart disease. With knowledge, exercise, supplements and diet we can put these concerns to bed. The last 2 generations that have gone before us unfortunately did not have this information, and they were living longer and so these types of issues were prevalent. Armed now with the knowledge of how the decline of oestrogen affects your body you can take practical steps to avoid this happening to you.
I can give you some basic information on HRT and my thoughts in my blog here.
UNDERSTAND THE MENOPAUSE YOU WILL BE THROWN INTO...
I remember the first time I met a client who'd had a hysterectomy and the state she was in. I felt unprepared to help her, however I put all my menopause knowledge into action and it worked, she felt so much better: "3 months ago I was in a dark terrible place.... Now I feel great!" Julie.
My book 'Understanding Your Menopause' will explain what exactly is going on with your menopause, and depending on your age you may already be perimenopausal and so experiencing some of the symptoms. However with a hysterectomy and/or medical menopause all of these crazy symptoms are thrown at you at once, and this can put you into a tail spin of overwhelm and emotion; preparation is key to helping you transition as smoothly as possible.
My best advice is to prepare your body nutritionally, the loss of oestrogen will hit, as will excess cortisol and you need to be prepared for what you can do about these. To avoid hot flushes for example a lot of natural small steps will help lessen them, and Blossom cream was created to ease them as they hit.
A majority of the symptoms you'll experience will be nutritional depletion so my book will explain what is going on and what supplements to take. When you are preparing for a hysterectomy prepare for all symptoms, and get your supplements started in advance. I would suggest a minimum of a month before the operation, but the sooner the better. Get the book here.
'HYSTERSTRONG' - PREPARE IN FULL WITH THIS COURSE
Lesley at Nourished Wellbeing had a hysterectomy at 38 and as a health professional created this course:
"Being told that you need a hysterectomy is daunting and quite frankly scary, regardless of your circumstances. There are so many questions, concerns, and anxieties that come to mind as you wait for the day of your surgery.
I came across so many women who were asking the same questions as me, and worse still, leaving hospital after surgery with little to no aftercare advice to follow.
I studied Hysterectomy health and recovery, and during my own recovery created the Hysterstrong programme, to help women like you who are facing the daunting wait for surgery, or experiencing the questions that arise during the early recovery stages.
The programme not only offers you help in preparing for surgery, but also gives a deeper understanding of the procedure types, and your recovery, both short and long term, Guiding you back to normal movement at a pace that allows you to maintain pelvic stability and strength, without risk of prolapse.
Broken down into sections, the course offers information for each stage of the journey, and I welcome personal emails from all members who need that little bit more support." Read more here.
FIBROID REDUCTION - PRE HYSTERECTOMY
If you're having an operation due to fibroids they may choose to try and shrink them in advance using Zoladex/ Prostrap. These reduce the oestrogen within your body, and so the results may also trigger the classic menopause symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, mood swings and emotional turmoil , overwhelm and brain fog.
You've been put into a 'medical menopause' that then maybe followed by a surgical one too, so this may also add in perimenopausal symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, aching joints. It's not a pretty list of symptoms to suddenly be hit with but they are symptoms that can be resolved. In fact you can prepare for them by taking supplements so your body is ready and supported nutritionally for these changes.
Everything that applies for a woman going through the menopause now applies to you, it's just that in your case you're going to be hit with a lot of symptoms very fast, so preparation is key for the least disruption. Read my book and take a look at 'Hysterstrong'.
WHEN IS MY MENOPAUSE EARLY?
The average age in the UK for periods to stop is 51, and this is a couple of years later than around the rest of the world that tend to be in their late 40s. There is also a difference based on ethnicity too with western women being later than other countries/ethnicities.
If your periods have stopped, or you've had blood tests confirming and early menopause and if you're going through one of the procedures above before the age of 45 then your menopause is considered early.
It is vital that you have the discussion with someone knowledgeable about HRT, and whether you can take it. However it is also imperative that your health is looked at and supplements looked into because the lack of oestrogen will trigger a chain reaction in your health. Read Life after Oestrogen and prepare to support your health to ward off post menopausal ailments.
POST LAPAROSCOPY GAS ALLEVIATION
Once you've had your hysterectomy depending on how it was performed as to whether you're left with trapped gas and the referred pain that it causes. Working with a client recently, using a mixture of chinese medicine, yoga, shiatsu and essential oil the gas dissipated within the hour, and with it all pain was gone; she didn't need the codeine she'd been taking anymore.
Firstly, purchase in advance, therapeutic grade peppermint essential oil; I use oshadhi.co.uk.
Take the peppermint oil into hospital with you, as soon as they say you can have peppermint tea then you can start inhaling this oil. Gently inhale through the mouth (do not touch the bottle!) so that you absorb it into your lungs, more so than your brain. You may hear gurgling and feel movement in your lower abdomen, plus temporary discomfort, this is the gas shifting; the momentary pain will pass. If at this time this is too powerful, leave and try again the day after. It was on day 3 that we relieved the gas for my client.
Drink the peppermint tea or syrup that they offer, this is going to be more gentle than the inhaling of the pure oil. It may not shift the gas at this time but will be soothing.
2. If you're ready to shift the gas, you can recline on pillows and open your legs into a pose similar to this 'reclining bound angle pose'. From Yoga, it's very supportive of pelvic and womens' health, opening up the area to allow the trapped gas to move. If stretching 2 legs is too much, just crook the one leg, with the sole pressed to your other leg, as high up the shin as possible. Support under your knee with a cushion or pillow. Try gently inhaling the peppermint oil.
Whilst in this reclining position, if you feel you need further encouragement to shift the gas, you can then gently massage your inner thighs. Using firstly the heal of your hand slowly press down your inner thigh, if you feel gas movement, hold that spot. Don't over stimulate the meridians by doing a lot of frenetic movement, less is more. Just press and hold, press and hold as you work downwards. Your body may not require much encouragement at all to dissipate the gas. It may feel quite uncomfortable in places and more so around the liver (under the right rib cage) but this will pass in moments and the relief will be felt in the shoulder area too.
If you would like support whilst you are doing this, I offer a zoom session (unless you're local to Cheltenham then come in and I will do it for you) . During the zoom session I will help you prepare the position, talk you through the self massage and support you as these changes happen to ensure you that everything is as it should be. Contact me for more information.
LIFE AFTER OESTROGEN
This is an important read whether you take HRT or not, but imperative if you for any reason don't have HRT. My free chapter from my book is available to read here.
This is also covered in more depth in my video series '28 Days to a Happier and Healthier Menopause'. Click image below.