THE BRAIN & UTERUS CONNECTION
Barbara, age 40, arrives in our office complaining of heart racing, debilitating brain fog, short term memory loss, and anxiety. Susan, age 57, arrives in our office complaining of a complete inability to think clearly… and has lost all joy in her marriage. Rose, age 62, comes in our office complaining of weight gain, severe anxiety, aches and pains and brain so foggy she got lost trying to find our office.
What do these 3 women have in common? All three had full or partial hysterectomies… each was one was left with a “brain” that just didn’t work like it used to! They went to their doctors and were told that “it’s just old age,” or “here let me give you an antidepressant for that,” or worse… “no, there is no connection between having your surgery and your current issues.” (A hysterectomy is most frequently performed to treat fibroids and endometriosis. During this procedure, the surgeon removes your uterus and, if necessary, other parts of your reproductive system.)
I have good news for you if you are like Rose, Barbara or Susan… you’re not losing your mind, and you’re not imagining things… your brain in your skull is not going wacky and about to burn out… you don’t have Alzheimer’s… and you’re not crazy. You DID have a hysterectomy that removed a vital organ from your body… a vital organ that does much more than was initially thought!
Even endocrinology textbooks used in medical and graduate schools describe the uterus as having the SOLE function of supporting a fetus and that it is a useless organ outside of reproduction. (Must have been a man who came up with that original idea!!!!)
Finally, science is catching up with the holistic (or as I like to say, “whole-istic”) view of the human body. Everything is connected to everything else. The uterus and ovaries communicate for reproduction functions, but there are also direct connections between the uterus and the brain through the body’s autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system coordinates unconscious functions like breathing and digestion. The new understanding of the uterine-brain connection shows that this connection affects cognitive functions in women and even impacts how we age.
The research that showed women who had a partial hysterectomy (ovaries intact after removal of the uterus) had an increased risk for dementia if the surgery was done prior to them reaching natural menopause. This is HUGE news! The bottom line to the study: “the surgical removal of just the uterus had a unique and negative effect on working memory… how much information that was able to be managed simultaneously. That started within the first two months after surgery.” Removing the uterus also caused hormonal changes… the hormone levels of the hysterectomy-only group were different from the group that had no surgical alterations (even if both groups still had ovaries present).
Here’s the deal… your body is a working symphony… each body part that God gave you works in conjunction with the rest of the body. No part stands alone. When you remove one piece, it HAS to affect the rest. That is just logic.
It has been commonly thought in the standard medical field that we think only with our brains… In the holistic field, it has been widely understood that we think with our whole bodies… our hearts, brains, guts and even organs and glands.
It’s already well-established that hormones originating from the reproductive system can affect the brain. A lack of estrogen, for example, can lower the magnesium levels in your brain, which in turn can reduce serotonin levels and lead to mood swings. However, not that much research has been done on the effects of the uterus specifically. That’s what the researchers were trying to find out.
In the past few decades, there has been a significant amount of research on hormones coming primarily from the ovaries, such as estrogens and progesterone, including how they influence brain and body systems outside of reproduction, such as cognition. In fact, most research has focused on the ovary-brain connection, and little research has been dedicated to understanding the role of the uterus outside of reproduction. As I stated earlier, endocrinology textbooks have described the non-pregnant uterus as ‘dormant,’ and ‘useless.’ Evolutionarily, it does not make sense that a single organ or body system has just one sole function.
These new studies show a unique adverse effect of hysterectomy alone on memory and indicate that the uterus is part of a system, which communicates with the brain for functions such as cognition. The researchers stated, “We believe there is a uterus-ovary-brain triad that might impact brain functions such as memory. Although the reason why hysterectomy impacts cognition is not yet understood, we believe hysterectomy yields a unique disruption in this whole system that is different than the disruption that occurs with the removal of just the ovaries.”
Get your hormones balanced naturally before you choose a hysterectomy (full or partial). Give us a call… we’re here to help you!
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