I’m having a hysterectomy soon. Will this cause me to reach menopause?

Sometimes, younger women need a hysterectomy to treat health problems such as endometriosis or cancer. A hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman’s uterus (womb). Often one or both ovaries (the female organs that produce eggs and hormones) are removed at the same time the hysterectomy is done. If you haven’t reached menopause, a hysterectomy will stop your period. But, you will reach menopause only if both ovaries are removed, called surgical menopause. Because surgical menopause is instant menopause, it can cause more severe symptoms than natural menopause (menopause that occurs as part of the natural aging process). You should talk with your doctor about how to best manage these symptoms.

Women who have a hysterectomy but have their ovaries left in place will not reach menopause at the time of surgery because their ovaries will continue to make hormones. But, because the uterus is removed, they will no longer have their periods and they cannot become pregnant. Later on, they might reach natural menopause a year or two earlier than expected.