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Think twice before having healthy ovaries removed (surgical menopause)

No one, and I mean no one, can appreciate just how debilitating this is unless they have suffered it. It messes with you mind, your body, your sexuality, your sense of self, your ability to function as a human being and a woman.

Where do I start? Perhaps by advising any woman reading this who has not already gone through menopause to think twice before allowing a surgeon to remove her perfectly healthy ovaries. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer on December 28, 2002. The gyn/oncologist removed everything in a radical hysterectomy including my healthly ovaries. There is no link between cervical cancer and ovarian cancer I later discovered. In fact, now that I am on HRT, I have the slight increase in risk linked to breast cancer.

I will not go into the details of facing cancer and radical surgery, but if I say that the surgical menopause and the hell I am now trapped in is worse that the surgery, perhaps you can have some idea of where I am.

When the menopause hit me I was about 6 weeks post surgery and was recovering slowly but positively. Then IT hit. The extreme fatigue that I suffered from, and am still suffering from, is destroying my quality of life. Even though I am taking oral HRT I still suffer from sleeplessness and fatigue so debilitating I have no choice but to crawl back into bed. I am overheated constantly and have absolutely no libido. These are just a few of the symptoms I suffer from.

I have tried and tried and tried to communicate with my general practitioner to absolutely no avail. In fact, when I told him I have no libido, he said he thought I should have sex with my husband, otherwise I would lose my marriage on top of what I have already lost. I walked out of the surgery that day and sobbed.

I am now going back to my oncologist to try to get some help. All women who have their ovaries removed, especially before they have gone through menopause, should have an IMMEDIATE referral to a menopause clinic. It should be an integral part of the essential aftercare.

No one, and I mean no one, can appreciate just how debilitating this is unless they have suffered it. It messes with your mind, your body, your sexuality, your sense of self, your ability to function as a human being and a woman.

I can appreciate the oncologist's point of view. Ovarian cancer most cases is found in the latter stages, but if there is no indication of ovarian cancer and no family history, I say leave the ovaries intact. Even after normal menopause the ovaries poduce a small amount of oestrogens, progesterone and testosterone. There are hundreds of receptors for these hormones in our bodies and they are intricately involved with other hormones.

So think twice, and keep your ovaries if you can.

Chris

 

For more information about hysterectomy:

  • HERS Foundation (Hysterectomy Educational Resources & Services) is an independent, nonprofit women's health education organization providing accurate information about hysterectomy, its adverse effects and alternative treatments.
  • Hysterectomy Awareness, a website dedicated to raising awareness about hysterectomy as well as providing support and resources about the subject.
  • Sans Uteri, a forum for the discussion of the physical and emotional challenges that can be caused by hysterectomy.
  • Hystersisters, a woman to woman support website for hysterectomy recovery. This group offers resources and kindness so that visitors can discover options and make decisions for themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Updated  05/15/2010