Angie couldn’t understand why she felt worse after the hysterectomy than she did before. At first, she assumed she was still recovering and just needed to give it a bit more time. But even seven months later she was still struggling to get out of bed. It seemed as if every part of her life had changed because she just didn’t have the energy for any of it. A simple walk around the block with her dog left her feeling exhausted and defeated for the rest of the day.
The truth was that Angie missed herself. She had been a passionate and active person before the surgery. So when her fatigue started to interfere with both her personal and professional life, she looked for help. There had to be another way to live.
Many women ask why am I tired after a hysterectomy? They may not be aware that there are solutions to overcome the overwhelming fatigue and reclaim their lives—and their futures. When Angie started to explore her options, she was inspired by the prospect of hormonal therapy that aims to restore the body’s ideal balance. This kind of approach to recovery isn’t just a bandage for the symptoms; it is a return to resilience. It is a return to oneself.
How a Hysterectomy Affects Your Hormonal Balance
Our hormones play a surprisingly important role in our normal bodily functions and wellness on a daily basis. And when one hormonal puzzle piece is missing, it affects so many connected pieces and processes. In some cases, hormonal fluctuations and changes resolve quickly and without lasting effects as your body adapts. But if you are feeling out of sorts following a hysterectomy, it may be just the start of an uncomfortable trend. Your body will adjust to the changes the best it can, but you may need additional therapeutic support.
The reality you face after a hysterectomy involving removal of the ovaries is often referred to as surgical menopause. But unlike natural menopause that comes with age and causes a gradual decline in reproductive hormones, surgical menopause can cause a sudden and intense drop in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. It is more difficult for the body to handle such an abrupt hormonal transition than one that typically takes place over the course of years.
While there may have been a compelling need to perform the surgery, there is also an undeniable need for sufficient follow-up care to reintroduce balance and vitality. If months have passed and you are still not feeling like yourself, then sufficient steps were not taken to compensate for the widespread imbalance left after the hysterectomy.
So, Why Am I Tired After My Hysterectomy?
While a number of hormones are affected by a hysterectomy, the impact on estrogen is particularly important. Estrogen is primarily produced by the ovaries and supports a plethora of essential functions and systems throughout our bodies. Much more than just a developmental and reproductive hormone, it is present in blood throughout the body, helping to promote general wellness—from our circulation to brain to bone to skin health. And our bodies become used to having this ally always at work for us. When estrogen levels drop dramatically due to ovary removal during a hysterectomy, you can experience a variety of unsettling symptoms, including fatigue.
Progesterone deficiency following hysterectomy can also pose risks, as this hormone helps to support the endocrine, skeletal, urinary, and nervous systems. And, though it is often overlooked, changing testosterone levels can also have a destabilizing effect on women’s well-being and vitality post-surgery. In fact, a woman’s ovaries continue to produce testosterone even after natural menopause. As such, removing the ovaries introduces a more drastic hormonal shift than that which occurs in the normal course of aging, potentially having a significant impact on your energy levels.
Your overall energy is influenced by the health and functioning of all the systems throughout your body. If your body is struggling to regulate on a daily basis, that struggle is going to sap your energy and leave you feeling fatigued. And, in the wake of a hysterectomy with ovary removal, it is common for women to have hot flashes and night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood swings, low libido, weight changes, and depression, among other symptoms. Any one of these complications, and especially a combination of them, can severely tax a woman’s body, leaving her with fatigue, discomfort, and defeat.
What You Can Do to Get Your Energy and Your Life Back
Some women are not fully aware of what to expect following a hysterectomy. Of course, you can anticipate that you will have a period of recovery after invasive surgery. But not knowing the extent to which a hysterectomy may affect your energy, your daily life, and even your personality can make surgically-induced menopause especially distressing. It is critical that a compassionate and individualized approach to treatment begins as soon as possible after a hysterectomy.
Realigning your hormones, especially during post-surgery recovery, is a sensitive prospect because you are vulnerable to significant hormonal changes and because a doctor must be willing to prescribe therapies specifically to suit your body. But it also is an important opportunity. In fact, it can be one of the most powerful steps on your recovery path. By seeking out a practitioner with expertise in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), you can begin to address the unwanted impact of your hysterectomy and start feeling like yourself again.
Bioidentical hormones are plant-derived and chemically identical to the body’s natural hormones. Practitioners who offer BHRT will carefully design a treatment plan for each individual, tailoring the hormone levels to your needs and paving the way for a smoother transition following a hysterectomy. With the support of bioidenticals, you may experience improvements in sleep, mood, and energy, helping you feel empowered and rejuvenated to do the things you love. And any remaining health challenges after the hysterectomy will be more clearly identifiable. You’ll be ready to progress toward greater resilience.
As unfamiliar as BHRT may seem, you can rest assured that there are practitioners who specialize in personalizing this therapy and the experience for each individual. It’s true that your body’s system of hormone levels and interactions is a very complicated one. But reaching out to a practitioner who understands this complex landscape and the impact of hysterectomy is a promising path toward regaining your energy and creating a healthier future.
You need not feel helpless to suffer life-changing fatigue after a hysterectomy and ovary removal. And the recovery does not have to be a difficult and risky process. Take back control of your life, and let your imagination once again be the limit of your possibilities.
If you’re experiencing persistent fatigue after your hysterectomy, BodyLogicMD can help. Practitioners within the BodyLogicMD network specialize in hormonal health and integrative medicine to provide a holistic approach to overall wellness. If you’re asking, “Why am I tired after my hysterectomy?”, they can help you find the answers via comprehensive hormone testing and prescribe the therapies you need to regain your energy. To get started, contact a local practitioner to schedule your first appointment or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz today.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.