The Importance of Calcium Intake Post-Hysterectomy
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a procedure that involves removing all or part of the uterus from the body. Hysterectomies are performed at all stages in life, depending on the reason for removal. However, it is a procedure more commonly reserved for women in their later years, to reduce the likelihood of cancer, prevent future fertility, or for other, related reasons. Some of the most common conditions that require a hysterectomy include:
Uterine, cervical, or ovarian cancers
Persistent vaginal bleeding
Chronic pain or discomfort
No matter the underlying justification for your hysterectomy, the procedure can shift a woman’s bodily functions in unexpected ways that require certain lifestyle changes.
What is calcium’s role in the body?
Calcium is a mineral found in the human body and plays a critical role in bone formation, musculoskeletal and nervous system health, and other essential bodily functions. Calcium is mostly found in muscles, bones, and teeth.
In a normally functioning, healthy human body, calcium is absorbed and used to promote the growth, regrowth, and lifelong fortitude of the previously mentioned areas. However, many people develop conditions that prevent them from properly absorbing calcium, which can lead to severe side-effects. If left untreated, these conditions can also contribute to a premature death in an otherwise completely healthy individual.
How are calcium and hysterectomies related?
When a patient undergoes a hysterectomy, their menstrual cycle ceases. This means that the body no longer sheds uterine lining, resulting in menopause. While normally-occurring menopause is not a cause for alarm, menopause as a by-product of a hysterectomy requires more attention.
A menstrual cycle goes hand in hand with the body’s ability to properly absorb calcium, along with other essential vitamins and minerals. When this cycle is discontinued, especially in younger women, the body runs the risk of being unable to efficiently utilize the calcium ingested into the body.
A study conducted in South Korea evaluated the co-relation between hysterectomy without/with bilateral oophorectomy and the occurrence of osteoporosis. The results indicated that the occurrence of osteoporosis was enhanced in those who had undergone hysterectomy compared with that in matched control subjects regardless of bilateral oophorectomy status.
Ways to increase calcium intake.
Whenever the body’s ability to properly metabolize and make use of calcium diminishes, finding ways to increase one’s minimum daily intake is imperative. Calcium supplements are safe, easily accessible way to increase one’s daily calcium amounts without invasive procedures, costly medical bills, and continued trips to the doctor.
For women who have undergone a hysterectomy, maintaining a consistent calcium supplement regiment is particularly important, as their bodies are less likely to utilize the mineral effectively and efficiently. Calcium supplements are available in many different forms, with the most common being a pill, a powder, or a chewable tablet.
In general, calcium supplements are best taken in smaller doses, alongside regular mealtimes. Remember, not all calcium supplements are created equal. It is really imperative to select the right product with higher absorption rate. For instance, the calcium carbonate provides 3% – 5% absorptions, while citrate and chelated offer a better rate of 35-40% absorption. The problem is, the remaining calcium which is not absorbed by the bones potentially sits on kidney stones and even cause blood clots. Finding the right and relevant calcium source is important so that you can get effective results.
When reviewing the average human body and its nutritional needs, a significant amount of calcium is necessary. But for women with hysterectomies, this number must be increased to ensure proper absorption by the body.
It is important to seek out supplements with a high rate of absorption, and to speak with your physician before beginning any diet plan consisting of greater calcium intake. Too much calcium can cause negative consequences, so speaking with a medical professional beforehand will lessen risks significantly.
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