Things to Consider Before Having an Oophorectomy with Your Hystectomy
While it may seem logical to have an oophorectomy at the time of your hysterectomy, there are some health risks to consider first. The estrogen your ovaries produce is important for your overall health, so without them, you could experience several health issues and menopause symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may minimize or eliminate some of the risks and symptoms, but current research is suggesting women keep their ovaries whenever possible due to more serious risk factors involved.
A bilateral oophorectomy causes surgical menopause, which can be more severe than natural menopause. Natural menopause occurs more slowly, over a period of years, and then the ovaries continue to secrete traces of hormones. Surgical menopause, on the other hand, eliminates all remaining ovarian hormones in an instant.
If you are concerned about future ovarian cancer, you may feel that removing the ovaries would eliminate this worry. Unfortunately, while ovarian and breast cancer risks might be reduced, a bilateral oophorectomy increases the risks of heart disease, lung cancer, and death. It can also lead to issues with dementia, osteoporosis, and sexual dysfunction. If you have a serious cancer risk because of genetics, talk to a knowledgeable oncologist or genetic counselor to determine your true cancer risk versus the health risks that can result from an oophorectomy.
Using HRT could reduce the risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, mortality, and some cognitive issues. It can also help with menopause-related symptoms including hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings. However, it may not help with all issues (e.g. cognitive decline), and it can be difficult to find the right HRT balance.
Before deciding to have an oophorectomy solely because you are having a hysterectomy, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons in your situation. You should also seek a second opinion before making your final decision. If your ovaries are healthy and you have no cancer concerns, it may be in your best interest to keep your ovaries.
Content Sponsored by: MIRI Women – The Minimally Invasive Reproductive Surgery Institute (MIRI) brings together highly skilled, board-certified specialists who are focused on women’s health. Our team of professionals is trained in advanced gynecology, specifically hysterectomy surgery. Philosophically, our partner physicians take a “less is more” approach to health care, by first treating patients with the most conservative therapies. MIRI focuses on physical healing, while emphasizing that a patient’s emotional well-being is just as important.