Just like the others who replied, I also had a complete hysterectomy at age 40 and then, was diagnosed with my lupus at age 43. I did use HRT for the first two years but weaned myself off. I had so much trouble with hot flashes, though, so I now use bio-identicle estrogen/progesteren/testosterone that is compounded at a compounding pharmacy for me. I put the cream on twice a day and it does wonders for my hot flashes.
As for my lupus and RA, the hysterectomy might have brought it on stronger for me. Having a hysterectomy is a major shock to your system. I had my first major flare just six months after my hysterectomy and it took forever for a diagnosis. In looking back, it is most likely that I had lupus since my late teens but I had so many remissions that it was never really diagnosed. My family doc kept suspecting lupus for many years but nothing concrete in my tests would support his suspicions.
I guess what I am trying to share is to be careful. Listen to your rheumy and let her/him put you on some additional prednisone before and after this major surgery. This could possibly prevent a major flare. I had so much pain from my endometriosis and adnenomyosis that I would never go back. I feel much better after the hysterectomy. Well, except for this darn lupus and RA. What a trade-off!
Best of luck to you as you consider the pros and cons.
Lupus and RA and LOTS of Medications!