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
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
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
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.
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.
Awareness, a website dedicated to raising awareness about hysterectomy
as well as providing support and resources about the subject.
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.