Will surgical menopause make me gain weight or change my body shape?

Keywords: Weight. Diet. ED. BMI. Surgery. Hysterectomy. HRT.

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Written by IAPMD
Updated over a week ago

Yes; although natural menopause is also associated with weight gain, one large study indicates that oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) leads to more rapid weight gain than either the natural menopause or hysterectomy only (removal of uterus, leaving the ovaries in place). Another study indicates that surgical menopause (oophorectomy) increases BMI, body fat percentage, and waist circumference (an index of body shape), but that ERT (Estrogen Replacement Therapy - HRT) reduced these changes. 

Overall, these results suggest that entering surgical menopause (due to oophorectomy) is a risk factor for weight gain and changes in body shape, but that ERT can help to protect against these changes. Of course, monitoring and improving diet and exercise can also help to reduce the impact of surgical menopause on weight and body shape.

If your BMI is higher than or equal to 30, it is recommended that estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) be delivered using patches (transdermally), since this has been shown to reduce the risk of blood clot while using ERT. 

If you have a history of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, then the menopause can be a time of increased risk for these symptoms. It is wise to seek treatment for any unresolved eating disorder symptoms prior to or during your transition to surgical menopause.  For more information about eating disorders, seek information and support from a reputable source, such as the National Eating Disorders Association, a US-based nonprofit focused on improving the lives of those with eating disorders.

Visit www.iapmd.org/surgery for lots of evidence-based information and resources for those considering, going through or recovering from surgery for PMDD/PME.

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