Women’s Health: Ovaries

Should you have your ovaries removed?

The question came from a patient who was scheduled to see a gynecological surgeon later that week. She was due to have a hysterectomy in order to resolve years of irregular bleeding, along with the development of fibroids, and ovarian cysts. However, this particular patient had never received any hormone testing or a history of hormone balancing provided for her prior to the scheduling of this radical surgical procedure.

The question came at a unique time, and although I would not change my answer today from what I’ve told women for years about the removal of the ovaries; we now have a recent study that backs up my recommendation.

A study in the May 2009 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, made a strong argument against the advice often given to women facing this same prognosis in favor of removing the ovaries was made.

Most physicians have taken the route that removing the ovaries at the time of hysterectomy will help to save the woman from having ovarian cancer later in life. This advice of course is typically well received by women, as ovarian cancer is one of the most feared cancers by women today. But the reality is that ovarian cancer accounts for only 3% of all cancers and only 1% of all deaths by women. It is a rare cancer.

The study recently released showed that women who had a hysterectomy with ovaries removed before the age of 50 nearly doubled their risk for heart disease and stroke. In addition, the women who choose to have a hysterectomy and ovaries removed before age 50 increased their risk of premature death by 40%!

My answer to this does not always work; but if we can help balance hormones, when problems arise, and reverse hormonally imbalanced women who are suffering from estrogen dominant problems such as fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, PCOS, irregular bleeding, endometriosis, etc, then the need to remove the ovaries at some point should be less of a concern and ultimately reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death!

Women need to be tested and have options! Getting hormonally balanced before a hysterectomy can be a very positive option for women often resolving their symptoms.

Good luck on your journey!

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