Risks

An oophorectomy is a relatively safe procedure. However, with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved.

Risks of an oophorectomy include the following:

  • 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)
  • Inability to get pregnant on your own, if both ovaries are removed

Risks of premature menopause

If you haven't undergone menopause, you will experience premature menopause if both ovaries are removed. This deprives the body of the hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, 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

Taking 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 your options with your doctor.