What are the risks of an oophorectomy?

An oophorectomy, like any other surgery, carries some risks. These can include:

  • Infection
  • More bleeding than expected
  • Bad reaction to anesthesia
  • Pain – both from surgery and possible ovarian cells left behind after surgery
  • Blood clots
  • Scar tissue

If you experience any of these after your surgery, please contact your doctor’s office.

How does an oophorectomy impact my chances of having children?

Removing one ovary will not significantly change your chances of becoming pregnant, assuming your other ovary and fallopian tube are working normally. Removing both tubes and ovaries will mean that the person will no longer be able to become pregnant on their own. Young women who are told they need to undergo removal of both tubes and ovaries should see an infertility doctor to talk about storing eggs before the procedure.

Will an oophorectomy cause menopause?

Ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, both of which help control the menstrual cycle. Removing both ovaries will cause menopause to begin immediately. It is important to be aware that this will happen before the procedure, and talk with your physician about possible alternatives if you are not done having children.

Even if you are no longer considering having children, it is important to be prepared for symptoms after surgery. In addition to no longer having periods, menopause can cause:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of sexual drive
  • Memory problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Anxiety

Your physician may treat you with hormone replacement, depending on why the ovaries were removed.

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