Heart Health Program | Jon Barron's Blog

Date: 07/28/2008    Written by: Jon Barron

Removing Ovaries Proven Ineffective

Healthy Aging

There's something about the female sex that seems to make medical practitioners itchy to remove organs, punch holes, and generally use surgical tools to reduce the amount of personhood. And so it is that new stories keep popping up revealing that some operation performed on massive numbers of women has turned out to be unnecessary, or dangerous, or way over-prescribed. Witness the cavalier over-prescription of complete hysterectomies, double mastectomies, and plastic surgery of many kinds in the past.

Now a new study tells us that there's no evidence supporting the common practice of removing the ovaries during a hysterectomy (for those of you who still believe that all modern medicine is evidenced based). According to an article in Medical News Today, doctors routinely prescribe bilateral oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) in women over 55 who are undergoing hysterectomy but who are at low-risk for ovarian cancer. As it turns out, this was based on a "hunch" with no evidence to support it. And as it turns out, the hunch was wrong. After reviewing the literature, head researcher Leonardo Orozco of the Women's Hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica, found only two studies looking at the impact of oophorectomy on low-risk women, and both studies focused only on sexual and emotional well-being. (It does seem rather interesting that a woman's ability to perform sexually post-surgery was studied instead of looking at the health benefits and risks of the procedure.)

About half of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the US annually have an add-on oophorectomy in order to "prevent the possibility" of ovarian cancer developing. Guess the doctors figure that while they're fishing around inside the women, they might as well empty the pond. And while it's infuriating to discover all that cutting and chopping that's been going on provides no benefit, it's even more distressing to learn that it may actually cost the woman her long-term health. That's right, not only is there no proven benefit, but removing the ovaries can have devastating long-term consequences because the ovaries produce hormones that supply some protection to several systems, including the cardiovascular, even after menopause.

That's right, heart disease risk goes up when the ovaries go out. In fact, according to Dr. Mindy Minkin of the Yale University School of Medicine, oophorectomy may result in a seven-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the absence of subsequent estrogen therapy, which of course carries its own risks. Removing the ovaries also raises the risk of stroke, osteoporosis, and dementia. A 2005 study at UCLA found that women between ages 40 and 80 with an average risk for ovarian cancer derived no survival benefit from losing their ovaries and in fact, experienced higher mortality rates up to age 65. The younger the women were, the higher the risk of developing heart disease. And last year, two studies at the Mayo Clinic found that removing the ovaries before menopause increased a woman's risk of later developing dementia or Parkinson's...twofold.

Dr. Orozco exercised restraint in summing up the findings. "Prophylactic oophorectomy is performed across the world on the basis of very limited evidence. Until more data becomes available, [it] should be approached with great caution. Currently, the existing evidence does not support the high number of ovary removals in clinical practice," he said.

His colleague, Dr. David Olive of the Mayo Clinic, ratcheted it up a notch: "Physicians tell patients that their risk of ovarian cancer can be removed by removing the ovaries," he says. "What they don't mention is that this may increase their risk for heart disease, which is much more common."

You can bet that physicians also don't mention the fact that the procedure is recommended to women on the basis of guesswork and superstition, rather than on the basis of even a shred of solid evidence proving that the radical surgery will lead to any benefit. The bottom line is that there's no more evidence supporting prophylactic oophorectomy than there was in the stone age practice of cutting a hole in the skull to release the evil spirits trapped inside.

:hc

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Comments

  •  
    Submitted by Deb Barnum on
    August 21, 2008 - 2:18am

    Please search out an alternative medicine doctor. They are out there. Or do the research and find a doctor that is willing to learn with you. Most cities have pharmacies with compound labs. As a foot note: blood levels do not give a good indication of the availability of hormones to the receptors they need to meet. Saliva tests are more accurate. I use ZRT Labs in Oregon. I get the kit free from my pharmacy. I live in a small town in central Florida which is not considered a "progressive" area so you should be able to find something in your area. Another good source of information would be the late Dr John Lee's web site. Good luck ladies and please share your knowledge with your sisters.

  •  
    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    August 18, 2008 - 5:30am

    Pat and Suzette:

    Certainly, removing the ovaries makes balancing hormones that much harder. However, using synthetic versions of hormones in an attempt to do so makes it impossible -- and carries a whole range of side effects you don't want. That said, if you have not already done so, read Chapter 10 of Lessons from the Miracle Doctors. It's all about balancing hormone levels in the body. You can download a free copy at http://www.jonbarron.org/book/book.php. For a quick summary though, you will want to explore three things.

    1. Using an all natural progesterone creme to pick up progesterone levels. Because of exposure to chemical estrogens, most women are estrogen dominant. Using a natural progesterone creme helps correct that imbalance. Note: synthetic prgogesterones that doctors recommend such as Provera are aboslute no no's.

    2. If your ovaries are removed, you might want to consider a bio-identical estriol creme. Estriol is the gentle estrogen that is cancer protective and actually acounts for some 90% of the estrogen found in the human body -- in its natural state.

    3. Use an herbal testosterone unbinding formula that frees up natural testosterone already in the body. Testosterone is almost more important for women than men since they have so little of it to spare.

  •  
    Submitted by PAT TALLEY on
    August 19, 2008 - 7:47am

    THOSE ARE GOOD SUGGESTIONS. WHERE DO YOU GET AN ""ALL NATURAL PRGESTERONE CREME,"" AN ""BIO-INDENTICAL ESTRIOL CREME,"" AND AN ""HERBAL TESTOSTERONE UNBINDING FORMULA?""
    I'VE READ THE ARTICLE, LESSONS FROM THE MIRACLE DOCTOR A YEAR AGO. VERY GOOD ARTICLE. IT SEEMED LIKE IT ONLY ADDRESSED THE PROGESTERONE ISSUE, AND FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS NO FEMALE ORGANS INSIDE, AND LEARY (SP) ABOUT JUST USING PROGESTERONE, I'VE USED NOTHING. (I USED PROGESTERONE CREME AND WHEN I HAD MY BLOOD TESTED, THEY SAID THAT MY LEVEL WAS OFF THE CHARTS [AND I WAS USING THE RECOMMENDED DOSAGE])
    WHAT ARE THE SIDE AFFECTS OR HARM THAT MAY ARISE IF I DON'T USE PROGESTERONE/ESTROGEN/OR TESTOSTERONE? I'VE GONE ABOUT 6 YEARS WITHOUT ANY SUPPLEMENTATION.

  •  
    Submitted by Pat Talley on
    August 18, 2008 - 4:21am

    I'm in the same boat as Suzette, except I have none of her symptoms. I just have hot flashes. I had a complete hysterectomy 11 years ago. I've gotten myself off the estradiol the doctor gave me, and have had nothing for several years.
    Should I use natural supplementations? What is best for the women who have had complete hysterectomies because of our ignorances?

  •  
    Submitted by Suzette Leeming on
    August 18, 2008 - 12:17am

    What can a woman do though, if (through ignorance) the ovaries have already been removed? I fall into this category.
    Since my ""complete"" hysterectomy, I've suffered mood disorders, osteoporosis, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
    Is there help out there for women like me?

  •  
    Submitted by ap on
    October 25, 2018 - 1:18pm
    Port of Spain ,

    Had "complete" hysterectomy about 13 years ago because of ovarian cyst, after the operation was told that I might have cancer. Imagine waiting 3 years for an appointment and when they finally give you a date their recommendation is radiation! I reply no thank you, I will keep my cancer and manage very well. The only side effect so far is 'hot flashes' every body cool and calm but I'm burning up, better hot flashes I say than Chemo.

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