Oophorectomy is a relatively safe procedure that carries a small risk of complications, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Rupture of a tumor, spreading potentially cancerous cells
  • Retention of ovary cells that continue to cause signs and symptoms, such as pelvic pain, in premenopausal women (ovarian remnant syndrome)
  • Small bowel obstruction

Risks of premature menopause

Women who have yet to undergo menopause will experience premature menopause if both ovaries are removed. This deprives the body of the hormones produced in the ovaries, leading to complications such as:

  • Menopause signs and symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • Memory problems
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Osteoporosis
  • Premature death

Women who take low doses of hormone replacement drugs after surgery and until about age 50 may reduce the risk of these complications. But hormone replacement therapy has risks of its own. Discuss options with your doctor.

April 24, 2014