Health Risks Associated with an Oophorectomy

Whether you are facing a hysterectomy procedure for the first time or are seeking additional treatment post-hysterectomy, you probably have many questions regarding the health risks associated with a oophorectomy.

There are several heath risks involved with a bilateral oophorectomy, some of which may be minimized by using hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, due to more serious risk factors, current research is suggesting women keep their ovaries whenever possible.

A bilateral oophorectomy causes surgical menopause which can be more severe than natural menopause, which occurs more slowly over a period of years. During natural menopause, the ovaries continue to secrete traces of hormones, but a bilateral oophorectomy eliminates all remaining ovarian hormones. Because hormones are essential for overall health, menopause creates a variety of health risks for women who enter it prematurely.

Removing the ovaries is sometimes seen as a way to prevent ovarian cancer, a condition that can be hard to detect and diagnosis. However, while ovarian and breast cancer risks might be reduced, a bilateral oophorectomy increases the risks of heart disease, lung cancer, and overall death. It can also lead to dementia issues, osteoporosis, and sexual dysfunction.

While using HRT can reduce the risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, mortality, and some cognitive issues, it may not help with all issues (e.g. cognitive decline). Additionally, finding the right HRT balance can be difficult and frustrating as women try to cope with menopause related symptoms including hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings.

Before having an oophorectomy, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons for your situation. Before you make any final decisions, seek a second opinion. If your ovaries are healthy and you have no cancer concerns, current research and studies indicate it may be in your best interest to conserve your ovaries.


Browse through the HysterSisters Separate Surgeries Articles providing information and resources for surgeries related to GYN Health and beyond hysterectomy.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.  Reprinted with permission: Oophorectomy and Health Risks

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