Acupuncture, Holistic Practices Provided Post-Oophorectomy Relief


After undergoing an oophorectomy, I experienced some debilitating symptoms, but acupuncture and other holistic practices helped.

cartoon drawing of blogger and Lynch syndrome survivor, Georgia Hurst

I did not realize estrogen's importance to my wellbeing until I lost my ovaries. Even though I was immediately placed on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after my ovaries were removed, I suffered from depression, anxiety, hot flashes and debilitating nausea for nine months.

My gynecologist was not helpful or sympathetic to my newfound issues and could not understand why his "one-size-fits-all approach" to HRT did not work well for me. I thought my problems would be remedied by tweaking HRT over time, but they were not.

My oophorectomy's emotional and physiological impact was significant, and I experienced stress, anxietyand depression after the surgery. After my ovaries were removed, my estrogen levels plummeted, affecting my mood, appetite and sleep, and I found myself very depressed and wracked with anxiety.

The worst side effect of all was the constant, debilitating nausea. I could not function or eat; all I wanted to do was sleep, which made me more depressed.

Frustrated and knowing that I needed more than conventional medicine, I took a more holistic approach to my healing and began acupuncture. I found an acupuncturist who also believed in meditation, breathwork, cupping and visualization practices. This constellation of methods helped me overcome the physical and psychological issues I experienced.

Acupuncture is a complementary therapy used for thousands of years to treat various health conditions. It involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body, stimulating the nervous system and releasing neurotransmitters in the brain, which regulate mood, pain and other physiological functions. The thin needles are painless, for the most part, but there were a few instances where I found their insertion painful, but this did not last long. The needles are in place for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the length of the treatment. After a treatment, I always feel relaxed, contentand sleepy. I find acupuncture to have more therapeutic effects than massage.

Acupuncture addressed and ameliorated many of my issues over time. It reduced the frequency and severity of my hot flashes and, more importantly, alleviated my constant nausea. Treatment also improved my serotonin and dopamine levels, neurotransmitters that help promote feelings of wellbeing, happiness and motivation.

My acupuncturist encouraged me to live as healthfully as possible, insisting on mostly a plant-based diet, and insisted I adopt a daily meditative practice and visualize my best self. She taught me the importance of breath work, also known as deep-belly breathing.

While acupuncture is expensive, many insurance companies will now help pay for it, specifically if a doctor has prescribed it. It is a safe and effective complementary therapy for women undergoing an oophorectomy due to Lynch syndrome. By releasing natural neurotransmitters into the brain, acupuncture can reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality and promote overall wellbeing. If you're considering acupuncture as a complementary therapy, consult your healthcare provider to determine if it is safe and appropriate for your needs.

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