Thinking About Oophorectomy

Overview

Oophorectomy (say "oh-uh-fuh-REK-tuh-mee") is surgery to take out one or both of your ovaries. Your ovaries store and release eggs so that you can get pregnant. They also make female sex hormones.

Some women have their uterus and ovaries taken out at the same time. In some cases, the fallopian tubes are removed too.

What to think about when you decide

If you don't have an increased risk of ovarian cancer or another disease that requires the removal of your ovaries, consider the benefits of not having your ovaries removed. These benefits include:

Not taking hormones.

When an oophorectomy is done before your natural age of menopause, your doctor may prescribe hormones after surgery. Hormones may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, hot flashes, and other menopausal symptoms. Ask your doctor about other problems that may be related to using hormone therapy.

Fewer fractures.

Removing the ovaries increases the risk for developing weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis). That's because the body no longer produces a large amount of estrogen. The risk for osteoporosis after an oophorectomy is greater in young women.

Long-term survival benefits.

When comparing women who do and don't have their ovaries, experts estimate that women live longer when they keep their ovaries until at least age 65.

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