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Ovarian removal (oophorectomy): a risk factor for dementia?



If I can have my ovaries removed before I'm 50 years old, do I have dementia as I grow older?

Answer by Jonathan Graff-Radford, MD

You may but need further research to know for sure Ovarian removal (oophorectomy), which is often done in conjunction with a hysterectomy, has a dramatic effect on your body before menopause , This abrupt loss of your ovaries is also known as surgical menopause because it triggers all changes in the menopause.

Your ovaries produce most of your estrogen, a reproductive hormone that has many functions beyond regulating your menstrual cycle. Estrogen can protect your brain from age-related changes that can lead to cognitive impairment and dementia.

Some studies indicate that early oophorectomy increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, other dementias, or cognitive decline. Some research suggests that you may be able to cushion this risk by taking Hormone Therapy (HT) until a natural menopausal menopause.

Before clinicians know for sure if an oophorectomy increases the risk of dementia, further investigation may be needed if HT is necessary.

Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor before opting for an oophorectomy.

Ask your doctor:

  • What condition does the surgery treat
  • What other treatment options are there? 19659011] Whether you are nearing menopause
  • Whether you are a candidate for HT

In some women, an oophorectomy is worth the long-term risk. If you have one of the genetic mutations that you probably develop breast and ovarian cancer this surgery can save your life – even if you are not taking HT.

Updated: 2017 -09-12

Release date: 2017-09-12


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