f t y

Ovaries & Hysterectomy: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Sep 8th, 2014

Many times I am approached by postmenopausal women with concerns about removing their ovaries during hysterectomy. They frequently ask, “Will I need to take hormones after the surgery?” However, these women are already in menopause, and their ovaries are no longer producing hormones. It would be like removing your appendix- it has no function, so if it’s removed you’ll notice no difference. The same is true with ovaries in menopause. If they’re not functioning now, then removing them doesn’t change that.

However, if you need a hysterectomy and have not gone through menopause, then your ovaries are still functioning and still producing hormones. In that case, you and your surgeon will need to make a decision about whether to take them out at the time of your hysterectomy. Consider these important factors:

  1. If you have a cancer that could spread to your ovaries/ tubes, they probably need to come out.
  2. Your risk of future abdominal surgery. If you are overweight or have had extensive previous abdominal or pelvic surgeries, you are at risk for a surgical complication.
  3. Your family history of cancer. If you are at increased risk for breast or ovarian cancer, you may elect to remove your ovaries as well as your uterus to lower your cancer risk.
  4. Benign conditions that affect your ovaries, such as endometriosis.

A more in depth examination of this topic is found in my book, Not Your Mother’s Hysterectomy, which can be purchased here. For an explanation of “What is Hysterectomy,” please watch the video below.

Comments are closed.