Tuesday, January 23

Removing the ovaries before menopause may pose health risks.

According to a study published online by Menopause on September 12, 2023, women who have both of their ovaries removed prior to menopause have significantly increased chances of developing multiple chronic health conditions decades later.

The 274 women (average age 67) in the study had either undergone a hysterectomy or had their ovaries removed prior to menopause for a noncancerous condition. The women had thorough physical examinations for an average of 22 years following their surgery to determine whether any chronic conditions existed and to assess their level of strength and mobility.

Women under 46 who had their ovaries removed had 64% higher odds of having arthritis, twice the likelihood of having obstructive sleep apnea, and almost three times the likelihood of having had a bone fracture as compared to women of the same age who still had their ovaries. In a test that involved a six-minute walk, they also did worse. In addition, ovary removal patients between the ages of 46 and 49 were more likely to develop arthritis and sleep apnea than non-operating patients of the same age. Nonetheless, ovary excision prior to menopause was not associated with any of the following conditions: cancer, diabetes, dementia, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, irregular cardiac rhythm, osteoporosis, or diseases of the kidney, liver, or thyroid.

The authors of the study advised women who have their ovaries removed before menopause to think about starting estrogen therapy around age 50.
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