Oophorectomy or removal of ovaries in premenopausal women who are not at a high risk of cancer should not be considered as they may become prone to chronic health conditions, researchers suggested.
The study showed that women under 46 who had both ovaries removed have high risk of getting diagnosed with multiple chronic health conditions like depression, hyperlipidemia, cardiac arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, arthritis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and osteoporosis.
Bilateral oophorectomy is the formal term for removal of both ovaries, often used as a preventive measure against ovarian cancer. “Bilateral oophorectomy should not be considered an ethically acceptable option for the prevention of ovarian cancer in the majority of women who do not carry a high-risk genetic variant,” said Walter Rocca, Managing Director at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester of Minnesota in the US.
The study, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings followed two groups of women for a period of approximately 14 years.
There were 1,653 women who underwent bilateral oophorectomy and an equal number of women of the same age who did not. Results showed that women under 46 who underwent bilateral oophorectomy experienced a higher incidence of the 18 chronic conditions except cancer and an accelerated rate of accumulation of combined conditions, or multimorbidity.
The investigators suggest that the premature loss of estrogen caused by the oophorectomy may affect a series of aging mechanisms at the cellular and tissue level across the whole body leading to diseases in multiple systems and organs. “The clinical recommendation is simple and clear. In the absence of a documented high-risk genetic variant, bilateral oophorectomy before the age of 50 years (or before menopause) is never to be considered and should not be offered as an option to women,” Rocca added.