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Should I Keep My Healthy Ovary?

From the Pre-Op Hysterectomy Articles List


Woman wondering if she should keep ovary during hysterectomyI will be having a hysterectomy and am now trying to decide if I should keep one ovary or have them both removed. One of my ovaries is cystic. I am leaning toward having both taken out as I don't want to have another surgery. The only thing is that I am scared to death of hormone replacement therapy. Do you have any suggestions on how to make this decision?

This reallly is a hard decision and one that has many factors to consider.

You will be in better shape now, and 20 years from now, for keeping healthy ovaries.

Your ovaries do many things for you and this is why even limited ovarian function is still better than hormone replacement therapy. HRT can be very good, and it is crucial for women in surgical menopause, but it isn't always easy, and it can't duplicate the real thing.

Of course, if you are dealing with endometriosis or have a family history with ovarian cancer, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), or other medical reasons, this is something to discuss with your surgeon.

Many women have prophylactic oopherectomies (ovaries removed as a preventive measure for family history of ovarian cancer/breast cancer).

Many women have their ovaries removed with their hysterectomy as a last resort treatment to debilatating endometriosis, although some later discover that the oopherectomy did not cure their endometriosis.

Other women have one ovary removed that isn't functioning properly, leaving one healthy one. The healthy ovary can take over for the one which was removed, providing adequate hormones in most cases.

Some members of the medical community believe that women who are close to fifty years of age should have their ovaries removed at the time a hysterectomy is performed because they will be approaching menopause soon anyway and "don't need them anymore."

HysterSisters knows that even as menopause approaches, the ovaries continue to function, dribbing hormones and regulating functions within our bodies.

Others within the medical community believe that the ovaries have a high probability of failing within 5 years post-hysterectomy. Since we do not know the percentages, the HysterSisters still believe that its important to keep healthy organs even if HRT might be needed after 5 years.

This is absolutely not a decision to be taken lightly or for the convenience of avoiding a later surgery. If you need ovarian removal later, it's a much less serious procedure—and meanwhile you've had that amount of time with the original equipment. In fact a simple laproscopic surgery can remove both ovaries with a short recovery.

There are enough uncertainties in this entire surgery and its aftermath that you need to be very certain that you have not eliminated any option. Only if you know you have exhausted all your choices can you deal with any difficulties and complications without lingering doubts of if-I'd-only.

Don't move too quickly into a decision from which there is no going back. Try to give yourself time to really feel the rightness of your decision, so that you can then embrace what has to be done.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

03-07-2005 - 09:28 PM


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