All hysterectomies pose the serious risks that accompany major surgery. Full hysterectomies (removal of the uterus and ovaries) are certain to end a woman’s fertility and bring about menopause.

To help temper these risks, more and more hysterectomies are leaving the ovaries intact. Ovary-sparing hysterectomies are a less complicated (but still major) surgery. Theoretically, sparing the ovaries will not incite early menopause.

Ovary-sparing hysterectomies and early menopause risk

However, one analysis of the Prospective Research on Ovarian Function (PROOF) study defies that notion. The analysis indicates that leaving the ovaries intact may contribute to early menopause.

The original PROOF study found that women who had ovary-sparing hysterectomies experienced menopause 1.9 years earlier than those who had their ovaries and other reproductive organs intact. This study has been backed up by similar results from other studies.

A secondary analysis was conducted by researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Duke University. The researchers examined in particular the levels of antimüllerian hormones (a marker of ovarian reserve) in the women. The analysis focused on the amount by which this marker changed after 1 year.

At the beginning of the one-year period, both groups of women exhibited similar median hormone levels.However, after a year, the women who had undergone the ovary-sparing hysterectomy experienced a drop in these hormone levels. The drop was significantly more than the control group. In addition, a higher percentage of these women had hormone levels that could not be detected. These results carried across both black and white women and those with both low and high ovarian levels at the beginning of the one-year period. 

What the study suggests about ovary-sparing hysterectomies

According to the researchers, this information suggests that “hysterectomy may lead to ovarian damage that is unrelated to baseline ovarian reserve.”

These hormone level changes may be due to a disruption in blood flow through the uterus due to the hysterectomy. According to the study’s authors, “In essence, after surgery, a woman’s ovarian age may be advanced to that of a woman with a naturally diminished ovarian pool.”

Women who have been advised to have a hysterectomy to ease their fibroid-related symptoms should explore other, less invasive options, like uterine fibroid embolization.

Consult Viva Eve to learn about your fibroid treatment options.

The doctors at VIVA EVE have years of experience in the treatment of both uterine fibroids and adenomyosis. We are specialists in the minimally-invasive uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) which, unlike any type of hysterectomy, spares your uterus. 

At Viva Eve we provide high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient we see. We will partner with you to determine the best way to treat your problematic fibroid symptoms. 

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