Removing ovaries during a hysterectomy protects against future risk of ovarian cancer, while conserving the ovaries and the hormones they produce may prevent heart disease, hip fracture, sexual dysfunction and cognitive decline. So how is a woman to choose between removal or conservation? According to an article published in the Journal of Women’s Health the determining factor should be whether she is older or younger than 50.
When a woman has no genetic risk for ovarian cancer, ovary removal should be discouraged in women younger than 50, as the withdrawal of ovarian hormones can lead to negative health consequences. On the flip side, it is advised to remove the ovaries to protect against ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women as the ovary removal is not likely to have an adverse health effect at this stage of a woman’s life.
“As 600,000 hysterectomies for benign disease are performed annually in the U.S. alone, it is imperative that we have clear guidelines for retaining versus removing normal ovaries,” says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women’s Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women’s Health.
Do you agree or disagree with the guidelines provided? Does your experience lead you to believe differently? Comment and let us know your thoughts.