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    What happens after ovaries are gone.
    kitty51 posted:
    I've had a very large ovarian cyst about 10 years ago, and had to have the ovary and tube removed along with the cyst. Now, I am having surgery to remove the other ovary and tube. I guess what I am trying to find out, is what happens next? I am 51, and i know this will put me into menopause. What kind of symtems may I expect? What about sex? My boyfriend and I are very active in that department, and he loves the way my body responds. Will I still have that desire? Will my body still respond in the same way? Let's just say that I have never had to use a lubricant before. I have more questions, but I will start with this for now. Any comments would be very helpful.
    Mary Jane Minkin, MD responded:
    Dear Kitty51,
    You raise several good questions. The first question is: did you discuss with your gynecologist taking out your uterus as well? The advantage to taking it out is that you could then take estrogen without any progestin therapy (and the WHI studies have shown that estrogen therapy by itself does not increase the chances of developing breast cancer)-and it is much easier to regulate estrogen therapy without having to administer progestin therapy. The drawback is that the surgery is a bit more complicated.
    You will be experiencing a sudden loss of estrogen-and most women do develop some symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. You also may develop vaginal dryness (that isn't usually immediate-the hot flashes usually are.) Systemic estrogen therapy will help with hot flashes and dryness issues. If you do not have bothersome hot flashes, you may want to use vaginal estrogens if you develop dryness. The ovaries do also make testosterone-I would suggest you go to the website of the North American Menopause Society,, and read about the pros and cons of testosterone therapy for libido-some women do find it helpful.
    Good luck,
    Mary Jane
    Anon_6061 responded:
    You did not say why you are having your other ovary removed. Do you have a cyst? If so, a cystectomy can oftentimes be done.

    As someone who had a hysterectomy with ovary removal 8 years ago, I am going to add my 2 cents. There is a good chance removal of sex organs will have some negative effects on sexual function (just as would happen for a man if testicles and/or prostate are removed). I personally lost ALL desire and orgasms are disappointing IF and WHEN I can have one. I used to have an orgasm every time and they were from my uterus. Clitoral orgasms are less intense. And I don't even have the strong feelings of love and connection with my husband, children, and other family members. I guess because all my female organs are gone.

    The loss of my ovaries has caused a whole list of symptoms even though I was started on estrogen shortly post-op (at age 49). Hot flashes were minor compared to all the other problems. Symptoms included suicidal depression, rapid aging, inability to fall asleep and stay asleep, vision deterioration, short-term memory loss, anxiety, extreme irritability, muscle atrophy, loss of motivation and concentration (I may have missed a few symptoms). Estrogen has brought some relief but I am not even close to the person I was before.

    And just as distressing for me is how the loss of my uterus has destroyed my figure and caused back, hip, and rib cage pain. And my vagina is now collapsing (vaginal vault prolapse). The four sets of ligaments that are severed to remove the uterus are the support structures for the pelvis keeping the spine, hips, and rib cage properly aligned. That is why women who have had hysterectomies have a thick, short midsection and big belly.

    The bladder and bowel can fall once the uterus is removed too which can affect their function. I have had bowel issues ever since my surgery and my bladder does not always empty.

    The ovaries of intact women produce hormones into their 80's, especially testosterone which can be converted into estrogen. Medical studies show that our organs' hormones are essential to good health and well-being (heart, bones, mood, cognition, sleep, vision, sex, etc) . HRT is not quite the same as our bodies' own hormones. You can find the studies in PubMed.

    So do your homework and maybe peruse some hysterectomy forums to understand women's struggles afterwards. Best to you!
    kellbear responded:
    I had a full hysterctomy at the age of 28. I had a long history of endometriosis and many surgeries for the problems accompanied with it including cysts. Take if from me, I'd rather have my ovaries and uterus back along with all the pain than to have a full hysterctomy. I have never been the same. I wish I could go back and decide differently but I can't. Listen to Anon_6061. Don't just listen to the doctors like I did, listen to your heart and listen to others that have had it done. If you are happy with your sex life, I suggest you not have anymore of your female organs removed. I've never been the same down there since my surgery even with HRT and vaginal estrogen. Plus the desire is not as much there as it was before. Something else the doctors never tell you are all the psychological changes you will go through. It's been hell.
    kitty51 replied to Anon_6061's response:
    I want to thank you for responding, and say that I am sorry to hear you have gone through so much. I am not having my uterus removed, just the remaining ovary. My other ovary was removed due to a very large cyst about 10 years ago. I have always had trouble with my periods since I started, heavy, light, days apart or months, very bad cramps, and gut wrenching pain. I had been on the pill for about 12 years, and went off last june basically due to my age ( am51). Now the cramps, and pain are much worse and my doctor even suspects I may have enometriosis. He is going to do a scope and a d & c and also remove the ovary and tube while in there. That would stop my periods and hopefully all symptoms related to them. I also have a small cyst on the ovary. As for my sex life, I am hoping that my desire is still there, not really too worried about vaginal dryness or orgasms. I have extremely intense clitoral orgasms, and I also get very wet from that area not just my vagina. I plan on doing my homework and talking to my doctor about all of this. Have you taken any kind of hormone therapy, whether perscription or over the counter? I am not sure what to do.
    kitty51 replied to Mary Jane Minkin, MD's response:
    Thank you for replying. My doctor and I did discuss my uterus, and he doesn't see a reason to take it out and I agree with him. Thanks for suggesting the website, I will definately look into it.
    Anon_6061 replied to kitty51's response:
    Since you are 51, you are probably very close to menopause which should end all the cramping and pain. Many women stay on birth control until menopause so that would seem to be a better option than removing ovaries that are essential your whole life for optimal health.

    As far as HRT - Yes, I have been on some form of HRT since about a month after my surgery (which was 8 years ago). Most of my "menopausal" symptoms are pretty much gone but HRT has not stopped my hair from falling out at an alarming rate nor has it restored skin that had rapidly aged nor restored my sex life. As far as lubrication, hormones affect lubrication regardless of whether it is from the vagina or the clitoris.

    Whatever you decide, I hope all goes well for you.

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    For more information, visit the North American Menopause Society website