Treating pelvic floor disorder can range from noninvasive options like Kegel exercises and physical therapy, to medication and, in some cases, surgery. The type and severity of your pelvic floor dysfunction will determine the treatment plan your pelvic health specialist employs.
If you undergo surgery for pelvic floor dysfunction, you may be prescribed hormones to help with your recovery. You may also undergo natural changes in your hormones post-surgery. Your specialist should be able to come up with a treatment plan that works for you.
Here’s what you need to know about hormones after pelvic dysfunction surgery.
- Hormones And The Pelvic Floor
The pelvic organs and pelvic floor are complex and interconnected. If you are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, it may be due to a variety of sometimes overlapping issues, including your hormone levels.
Balanced hormones are key to your overall health and to your pelvic health as well. The ovaries produce most of the estrogen in your body, and there is some evidence that low estrogen levels may be linked to overactive bladder and urinary incontinence. On the other hand, certain conditions like endometriosis can be treated by lowering the amount of estrogen in the body.
While we still need more research on the exact role hormones play on the pelvic floor, we do know that there are estrogen receptors in the bladder, vagina, pelvic floor and anal sphincter. And topical estrogen can improve vaginal atrophy, overactive bladder and UTI symptoms in menopausal women.1
As researchers continue to explore the linkages between hormones and pelvic floor health, there are some treatments that are already being used after pelvic floor dysfunction therapy to improve outcomes.
- Doctor Prescribed Hormones Post-Surgery
Pelvic organ prolapse is a pelvic disorder often treated by surgery. If you are postmenopausal and you receive this operation, you may be prescribed an estriol vaginal gel (0.0005%). A 2017 study found that an ultralow topical estriol dose both before and after surgery significantly improved the vaginal health, sexual function and quality of life of postmenopausal women.2
Note that estriol, the main estrogen involved in pregnancy, is often used to treat menopausal symptoms.3
A more recent study examined using low-dose intravaginal estriol ovules administered to postmenopausal women, both before and after surgery placing transobturator tape, which typically used to treat stress incontinence. The study found that this hormone treatment improved surgical outcome and vaginal health.4
For these reasons, you may be prescribed a low-dose estriol treatment either pre- or post-surgery.
Finally, as you may imagine, a hysterectomy, which removes the uterus and sometimes the cervix and surrounding tissues, can affect your hormones after the procedure. This is true whether or not you have to also have your ovaries removed (called a oophorectomy). These organs are interconnected, so that even if you keep your ovaries, you may still experience hormone interruption.
There are many reasons for this procedure, including fibroids, endometriosis and uterine prolapse. And there are many ways to get your hormones back to a healthy level after surgery. This can be as simple as exercise and supplementation. Or, you can talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy.
Our goal is to help women everywhere gain access to the pelvic health support they need, including before and after surgery. Please use our Physician Finder to find a pelvic health specialist near you.