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Surgery and your menstrual cycle

July 10, 2018

 

Are you planning surgery? Did you know that in addition to working it into the best day and time for your surgeon and your hospital, you may want to check your menstrual cycle planner?! This has been a controversial subject and argued extensively among breast cancer surgeons, but other types of surgeries may be affected as well.

 

1. Health research questions whether planned elective surgery of any sort, not just gynecologic surgery, could be safer at certain times during the menstrual cycle. A researcher who follows menstrual cycle variances has found another conundrum for her data base and sent me a link to look over. In a small study in Turkey it was found that at certain times of the menstrual cycle blood pressure responses to intubation (tube placement in general anesthesia) varied dramatically depending upon the phase of the menstrual cycle.

2. Some women are more prone to migraines, and definitely surgery can trigger a migraine, if you get menstrual migraines, may not be the best time to schedule a surgery.

3. Even our blood pressure can change during a menstrual cycle. The referenced study also felt that the blood pressure responses were smoother during the early menopausal phase, and it is true during the very earliest time the levels are lower. The authors are quick to point out that they didn't actually measure the hormone levels of the study subjects nor did they measure the levels of the adrenaline and adrenaline-like substances (catacholamines) that would affect these things. It is very likely that healthy women with very normal blood pressures will not have a medically relevant change in their blood pressure, it is however a concern that someone with abnormal blood pressures or other medically unstable factors could have this be an issue. It is important to keep reading about this issue and when scheduling surgeries there are a lot of factors to consider.

4. Wound healing may vary with the menstrual cycle. In a study of this it was found that wound healing after cosmetic breast surgery was worse in the later half, the post ovulation phase, of the menstrual cycle.

5. The common sense approach is to discuss your cycles with your surgeon, no matter what surgery you are planning and make a plan based on the what is best for your individual health.

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