I hope you guys all had a great weekend! I’m pretty sure we just had our last “normal” weekend until like…um, well, January. Ha! When I look at all of my weekends between here and Christmas, they all pretty much say #allthesports on them so, I drank extra coffee, slept a little bit later and enjoyed a touch of laziness this weekend hoping it will last me for you know…um 9 months. #momlife
Today, I’m wrapping up all the hysterectomy and HRT talk with a Q&A based on last week’s questions. On Friday afternoon when I was compiling all of these, my heart was full because there are SO MANY of us in the same boat!! So many of us are struggling with feminine health issues, and it’s always just so encouraging to know you’re not alone.
As always, I’m not a doctor, I’m not an expert, I can only address MY STORY here, so I’m sorry if I can’t answer all the technical questions. I strongly encourage anyone out there who doesn’t feel “right” or doesn’t feel “heard” at the doctor to get another opinion. Your health is too important to dismiss, and if your gut is telling you that something is wrong, I would encourage you to seek answers.
Okay, you asked and I’m going to answer…
I’ve had so many friends have uterine ablations, but my OB never thought it was a right fit for me. When I was seeking other opinions about having a hysterectomy, none of the other doctors thought it was an option for me either.
You should totally ask your OB their thoughts and opinions about this, but when you remove the girl parts, you’re removing hormone producing organs in your body, so you need to offset that (especially if you don’t have ovaries!) with something else.
You should only do HRT if your levels are not in the normal range. I’ve had several friends want to try HRT because they’ve seen how positive it’s been for me only to be told that no, they don’t need it as their levels are all within the normal range. So…if your levels are normal, no, you don’t need to do it, but if your levels are low, then yes, I would imagine you would feel even more amazing on HRT. It all starts with finding out what your levels are right now.
Every doctor I spoke with was excited that I was already doing HRT whether I kept my ovaries or not. That being said, I think it’s a general rule that it’s not necessary if you keep your ovaries but beneficial. Every doctor I spoke with said that if you remove your ovaries, you really must do HRT or else your overall quality of life will change dramatically. Ask your doctor about their opinion, but I was pleased that everyone I spoke with seemed to be on the same page.
The three main places I went to over the last 6 years for HRT all treated men too, so yes!!
I was 32! You can read more about the beginning of my journey in my first post on HRT.
Yes and no. I wasn’t nervous about the HRT part as it was already in place, and I felt completely confident in that, but I was nervous (to an extent) about having surgery. That being said, everyone at my doctor’s office kept telling me how simple the procedure and recovery would be, so I kept clinging to that. Dr. Riegel probably did thousands of hysterectomies over his 25+ years as well, and he kept telling me how easy it would be. I can’t stress enough to look for a doctor that specializes in this type of surgery. The robotic hysterectomy felt so minimally invasive to me and even though it was major surgery, it felt very manageable.
No but that was one of my symptoms letting me know my hormones were off. In fact, I would say that any time I haven’t been up to date on my hormones (like when we’ve traveled for longer periods of time, so I was late getting my injections…back when I went to a clinic and didn’t do them myself), hot flashes, night sweats and hormonal acne are always the first three things to come back and then immediately subside once I get my hormone levels back to normal.
I started HRT six years ago (when I had ovaries!), so that wasn’t why I began, but yes, when I had my hysterectomy, I also had them take my ovaries too.
I was only on birth control for a hot minute. Andrew and I tried to start having a family early on and then, I didn’t get back on because it took us so long/didn’t work for so long/I didn’t have a period/and then Andrew had a vasectomy, so it wasn’t needed. A few times, my fibroids would get so bad, that I would get on for a month just to get them to subside, but then I would get off when they stopped. I tried to think about when the last time that was, and it’s been a long time.
For me, it has been relief. I feel so at peace with my decision and have no regrets.
For me, that chapter was closed a long time ago, so no, but I can totally see how it would affect other women.
I have no idea what goes on in those med spas, but I have always gone to an actual MD for my HRT.
My first foray into HRT was with pellets! The first time I did them, I felt AMAZING!!! I was a walking billboard for them. They worked immediately, and I could not have been happier. The second time I did them, I felt nothing..so I was stuck because I couldn’t do any other HRT (because the pellet was still inside of me), but I had all the symptoms of someone not doing HRT…so, I never did them again.
So many great conversations backed by research with all of the doctors I have used. I think that is a great question that everyone should ask. If you don’t have a HRT doctor, I know that is something Dr. Riegel would be happy to address with any new patient as well. You can see his info HERE.
He didn’t. Andrew had two kiddos and was ready to move on to the next phase of life.
I think the first questions are what are my hormone levels and how do they fit into the normal range? If they’re not in the normal range, how close are they? What might the side effects be for me due to where they are? What could I do to get them in the normal range and what would the effects be at that point? I would start there.
Looking back, the biggest focus seemed to be how I didn’t have a period and then would I would get one, even on all of those fertility meds, how my body didn’t respond like it should. I would do all of those meds and treatments and then not have follicles. It was always like you could pump me full of stuff but the uterus and ovaries just did not want to play ball, but YES, my hormone levels were off and that was part of the discussion too.
There are several ways to have a hysterectomy. Once I learned about robotic ones, I was very interested in that method as it did seem least invasive. The robot goes into those four small incisions and then the parts come out vaginally. I had two different doctors tell me it only takes between 15 and 20 minutes total each time they do one.
The dermatologist was actually the first person to tip me off. I had hormonal acne on my chin and lower jaw that just would not go away. It was deep, painful and persistent for about two years. I was exhausted, but heck, at this point, I had two really small kids, was building a house and in the process of adopting a child from China, so I thought “of course, I’m exhausted!”. He tipped me off to a hormonal imbalance and then a friend at church kept mentioning how she was doing it and so I went for a consult.
I did! Sometimes, they felt manageable and other times, they drove me mad. I really can’t think of a better word than that…MAD. When they would get reallllly bad, a few days on a birth control pill would make them go away. I’m so sorry! They were awful!
For me, recommendations from my friends and family have always been the way I find doctors. I just don’t think there’s a better way than a good old fashioned rec from someone you love, trust and respect.
For my hysterectomy? I really think loving my doctor, having as much information as possible upfront (getting multiple opinions), talking to other women I knew who had had one and arming myself with all of that…really gave me peace of mind.
You can read all about my new regime HERE. I give myself one injection a week. Easy as that!
Nope, never. I’m done. And HRT for me was all about my own physical symptoms, but I do believe there is a whole other side of it that deals with loss of sex drive/sex issues/etc.
It’s so hard to tell because after my last pregnancy I was kind of a hot mess, but I would say that right around 30 was probably when I started realizing I wasn’t feeling like my best self (I had Smith when I was 28), but didn’t start HRT until I was 32.
There are a million different symptoms of having hormone levels not in the “normal” range that run the gamut, but for me specifically, it was more about hormonal acne, hot flashes, night sweats and very low energy.
I have not.
My hysterectomy? It affected them only in the way it would affect any family when mom has surgery. I wasn’t my normal self/couldn’t lift anything/couldn’t drive for a while, things like that. Other than those normal things, it didn’t affect them at all.
Good question! Okay, after my second pellet (again, read about that HERE), it wasn’t working. I knew then that it wouldn’t be a good process for me as I want it to work every time if I’m going to pay for it/depend on it/not be able to do anything else while it’s in me. So, I just started asking around. For a hot minute, I used creams but didn’t see/feel any results and then, I was encouraged to visit the clinic where they do HRT for both men and women using injections, and that worked really well for me (which is why I did it for so many years). I would have been happy doing that forever…except, Dr. Riegel made it so easy for me to switch as he seemed even more knowledgable, helped me even more understand my particular situation and made it so easy to give myself the injections at home which is so convenient! I no longer have to drive to the clinic and wait, I can take them with me when I travel and never miss…it is just so custom and specific for me.
From what I hear, there are so many, right? Hot flashes, night sweats, low libido, weight gain, etc. I’m post-menopausal now and not suffering from any symptoms at all (I give 100% of the credit to HRT). I actually feel better today than I did at 17. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.
I mean to tell you, WHEW!
I am so thankful for this community where I can be transparent about my life and you can make me feel like I’m not alone. I hope that at least one of you was helped today. Don’t forget, to see all of the info about my journey up to this point, you need to read these post:
I HAD A HYSTERECTOMY
HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY PART TWO
In those posts, I share all of the details about everything. Also, don’t forget, you can reach out to my HRT doctor (who was also an OBGYN for over 25 years) HERE. You don’t have to be local to use him as he takes on patients all over the country via virtual appointments and technology. He’s amazing!
Okay, tomorrow, how about we lighten the mood and talk about something frivolous and fun? Sound like a plan? See you then! 😉