Oophorectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove a woman’s ovary. The surgery may involve removing one ovary or both ovaries depending on the problems experience by women. Some operation may also involve removing the fallopian tubes along with the ovaries.
The main reason to have oophorectomy is to prevent ovarian cancer, the surgery also help to lower the risk of breast cancer. When ovaries are removed, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone produced by ovaries declined and this can prevent breast cancer from growing because breast cancer cannot grow without these hormones.
Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are caused by abnormal genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, women who inherited these abnormal genes have higher risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Women with BRCA genes also have high risk of developing fallopian tube cancer and because of this fallopian tubes are remove together with the ovaries.
Women who undergo oophorectomy may experience many of the symptoms associated with menopause. The surgery causes menopause for women who have not yet gone through menopause. Ovaries produce hormones during a woman’s reproductive cycle and menopause are caused by decrease in hormone level after the ovaries are removed.
Some of the menopause symptoms experience by some women may include hot flashes, insomnia, decrease sex drive and vaginal dryness. Some women may also suffer from osteoporosis due to lack of estrogen which is one of the hormone produced by ovaries. Estrogen is a woman’s growth hormone and it is also responsible for maintaining and increasing bone mass. Estrogen also helps to regulate blood cholesterol and without sufficient estrogen present in the blood stream may increase the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease in women.
How is the Operation Performed?
The operation involves making a cut in the lower part of the abdomen, the cut may be made horizontally or vertically through which the ovaries will be removed. This operation takes longer for individual to recover after surgery.
Another operation involve using laparoscope which is a tiny instrument with camera on the end, the instrument is inserted through tiny abdominal incision allowing doctors to see the surrounding of pelvic organs and removed the ovaries. This operation allow individual to recover more quickly after surgery.
Most doctors recommend younger women who undergo oophorectomy to take hormones such as estrogen or progesterone to compensate for the decline in hormone level caused by menopause after the ovaries are removed. Hormone replacement therapy helps to treat many of the symptoms and health issues that are associated with menopause.
Women who have their uterus removed through the process of hysterectomy should only be treated with estrogen after having her ovaries removed. This type of treatment is called Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) and the reason for being treated only with estrogen without progesterone because the use of progesterone is known to cause side effects such as breast tenderness and is also more likely to increase the risk of breast cancer in women. For this reason many doctors do not include progesterone in hormone therapy for women who had their uterus removed.
Progesterone is only included in hormone therapy for women with
intact uterus. Progesterone provides counter balance effect that help
to lower the risk of endometrial cancer caused by estrogen. Therefore
when a woman’s uterus is removed she has no risk of endometrial cancer
when being treated only with estrogen and this type of treatment is
safer for women who have high risk of breast cancer.
Return from Oophorectomy to Female Sexual Anatomy
Return to Homepage Self Help Sexuality