A Hysterectomy is a very invasive and traumatic surgery. But does it really solve the problem that lead to the surgery in the first place?
In this episode, learn how a hysterectomy will impact your hormones and how it's only half the solution.
Episodes & links mentioned:
Join the Hormone Health Academy or get on the waitlist
Hello and welcome back to episode 22.
We’ve had a great weekend, celebrating my beautiful girl’s 12th birthday on the weekend.
Every year that we celebrate her birthday, I’m reminded of the miracle that she is.
When is was 5 weeks pregnant with Kayle, while working in the children's ward of one of the hospitals in the city where we lived, I contracted Rubella.
Doctors recommended that we abort her as they informed us that there was a greater than 90% chance that she would be disabled, either physically, or mentally or both.
But we had faith that God can do a miracle.
So much faith.
She was born profoundly deaf with a few other complications which God has healed.
But at 20 months old, she got her first cochlear implant and at 5years and 5 months, she got her second.
She is an amazing young lady with beautiful talents and a daily reminder of the amazing God that I serve.
So this weekend was her birthday party with some friends and we all had a wonderful time.
So getting back to today’s topic, the effect of a hysterectomy on hormones.
When I first got into women's health and started my hormone journey with other women, I couldn’t believe how many women have had this very invasive and major surgery.
It was the first time that I realised that it was one of the main treatments for endometriosis fibroids, cysts, and other reasons.
And from there, my research journey started and I’ve had multiple questions on the topic since.
First off, I wanna make it clear that I’m not against having a hysterectomy. Quite often, it can provide much needed relief to women that have suffered for many years.
But my biggest concern with hysterectomies, is that it addresses symptoms and not the underlying root cause of the problem.
So we’re using a band-aid approach as opposed to discovering the cause and addressing that.
In many instances, the underlying cause of many of these conditions, is hormonal imbalance.
We know that the research indicate that women with higher estrogen levels or estrogen dominance, have a higher risk of developing polyps, endometriosis, endometrial cancer and other reproductive issues.
So if we are removing the symptom of the problem, in other words we remove the fibroids, polyps or endometrial growths, we just remove the symptom. But since the root cause is still there, it will continue to present in the same way or in a different way.
And I think this is where the medical profession is letting women down.
It’s quite common for women to have surgery for these reproductive issues, more than once.
So if this is you, if you’ve been told that surgery will be necessary, or you’ve had surgery, make sure you get to the bottom of the issue.
Ask the questions, and work really hard until you find the answers.
Now, let’s look at how a hysterectomy will affect your hormones.
Firstly, a total hysterectomy is when the uterus and cervix is removed. So the ovaries remains in tact.
If your doctor has indicated that a hysterectomy is the only solution left for you, this is what I recommend you insist on if at all medically possible and safe.
When the ovaries are removed, this is called an oophorectomy and leads to immediate menopause after the surgery, no matter what your age.
A hysterectomy therefore does not affect your menstrual cycle. In other words, it does not affect the natural cycles of hormones that are produced by your ovaries.
The ovaries are the main producers of female hormones, and therefore you want to keep them happy, healthy and in tact for as long as possible.
But although your ovaries will still produce hormones, you won’t be experiencing a menstrual bleed any longer. Because it is the lining of the uterus that sheds, which leads to a menstrual bleed. And since the uterus has been removed, there will be no lining to shed.
So tracking your menstrual cycle will be a bit trickier than for menstruating women, but it is still totally possible.
For example, I no longer have menstrual bleeds due to an ablation that was done on me years ago, but I can still quite accurately track my cycle.
So it’s totally possible with a little bit more effort.
Now you might be wondering, if hormonal imbalance was the likely reason for the hysterectomy in the first place, what can you do to make sure you address the root cause.
Cause I can tell you without a shadow of doubt, that your doctor will likely not talk about it or know what to do about it, without prescribing hormone replacement therapy, which they’ll only do if you are experiencing symptoms of menopause.
Here is the good news, there are natural, non-invasive ways that you can address the underlying hormonal imbalances. And that’s what I would love to share with you today.
There are 3 major areas where you want to focus your attention. They include your liver health, gut health and environmental toxins.
Like I mentioned earlier, the likely cause of growths in the reproductive organs is estrogen dominance.
This can be due to really high levels of estrogen or it can be due to an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. I recommend you listen to Episode 19, where I explain what estrogen dominance is and how to start healing from it.
So in order to regulate estrogen better, we need to get rid of used estrogen more effectively and we need to make sure that we don’t introduce more estrogen to the system than what is needed.
So we want to optimize the body’s function to process and eliminate estrogen and we want to avoid getting exposed to estrogens in our environment, which your body will suck up like a sponge. The only estrogen you want to allow into your body, is the kind that is produced by your body.
So let’s look at the 3 major areas where you can start addressing the underlying hormonal imbalance and some easy-to-implement strategies that you can start doing today:
Firstly, you want to make sure your liver is functioning at expert level
That means, you need to feed it the nutrients that it needs to do its job, and avoid the things that make its job harder.
To provide your liver with amazing liver-loving nutrients, make sure you include some plant-based foods at every single meal and snack every day and include cruciferous veggies in your diet every day.
The culprits that will make the liver’s job harder are alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and medication.
So in order to boost your liver function, what habit can you start doing today to increase the liver-loving nutrients? Maybe adding some fruit or veggies to your breakfast? LIke spinach with your eggs on toast, or some blueberries with your oats.
And maybe, instead of having a glass of wine every night, you can take that down to every second night and eventually down to once or twice a week.
Moving on to number 2. Healing your gut.
Estrogen is changed by the liver to a different form, which is then transported to the gut to be eliminated through your stools.
Fibre is really important for this process, as estrogen binds to the fibre to be transported out of the body.
So a diet high in fibre is really critical for this process.
And again, adding plant-based foods to every single meal and snack will provide you with this much-needed fibre.
Secondly, recent research has shown that the bacteria in your gut plays a very important role in estrogen regulation.
And if your diet is low in plant-based foods, high in sugar, alcohol and caffeine and you live a busy, stressful life, you are likely to suffer from something we call dysbiosis.
Which is a very techie term for more bad bacteria that good bacteria in the gut.
And this is guaranteed to affect estrogen levels in your body.
So get a good probiotic supplement, feed that bacteria with lots of fibre and drink enough water.
And then getting to number 3 - Environmental exposure to toxins.
The exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, also called hormone disrupting chemicals, is something that is really hard to escape in this day and age.
These toxins are artificial chemicals that interfere with the proper functioning of our hormones and cause disruption at cellular level at any point during the hormonal process. This can be at the gland where these hormones are produced, at the cells that receive the hormones and at any point in between.
Studies have actually linked these chemicals to cancer, heart problems and reproductive issues.
We are all unknowingly exposed to these chemicals every single day and it’s important to become more aware of the sources so that we can effectively avoid it as much as possible.
So I’ll mention to your daily touchpoints and a few thoughts on how you can avoid them, and I really want you to identify those that would be fairly easy for you to start eliminating.
cigarette smoke, including secondary smoke. There is no other way around this one, but to avoid all contact with cigarette smoke.
Cosmetics, including make-up, beauty products, creams, toothpaste, hair sprays, perfume, deodorants, the list is really long on this one. So always opt for environmentally friendly products or products that are toxin free. These safer products are become more popular now, so it should be easier to find some of these products in the area that you are.
Detergents, fabric softeners, cleaning products. Again, opt for products that are toxin-free and environmentally friendly. An easy rule of thumb is to avoid anything with fragrances. I try to buy all my cleaning products as fragrance free or toxin free and sometimes I also make my own.
Plastic containers. So replace your plastic containers and water bottles with stainless steel or glass. And if you are still in the process of doing this gradually, just make sure you don’t put any plastic containers in the microwave or dishwasher.
We know these chemicals are in our bodies because studies have detected them in blood, urine and breast milk. They accumulate over time through consistent exposure to tiny amounts. So you might think it won’t have significant effect, but it does accumulate over time and this is also in part why we are seeing girls going into puberty much earlier.
It is unrealistic to try and avoid these toxins completely, but I recommend being a thoughtful consumer of what you place on or in your body to decrease exposure.
When choosing products, look for labels that say
Also, drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water, as tests have shown that bottled water often contains harmful chemicals and bacteria. And if you are out and about and need to buy water, opt for the brands that are sold in glass bottles.
Avoid pesticides by choosing organic foods where possible and choose natural cleaning and beauty products.
So the short of it is, that a hysterectomy does not affect your hormonal cycles, but is likely an indication that there are underlying hormonal imbalances that need to be addressed.
So if you feel that you are ready to learn about these imbalances and how they are affecting your entire body and mental wellness, the Hormone Health Academy is probably the right program for you. And if you are listening to this episode prior to the 12th of July 2022, you still have time to join the next intake.
I only take 15 students per intake to make sure that you will get the best quality coaching that will help you to heal your hormones and learn how to live in harmony with your body.
So make sure to check out the program at vandghie.com/hha. I would love to walk alongside you on this amazing journey.
And if you have a friend or loved one that have had a hysterectomy or are suffering from endo, or fibroids or any reproductive health issues, please share this episode with her.
Thanks for joining me again today for this episode and please take a few minutes to subscribe and review my podcast.
I’ll see you next week