Surgical Menopause

The word ‘menopause’ means the last ever menstrual period and the average age of menopause is 51 years old. ‘Surgical menopause’ is the removal of both ovaries at operation before the natural menopause has occurred.

Surgical menopause will occur in younger women with ovarian cancer or complex bilateral ovarian masses / cysts when both ovaries are removed at operation. A woman’s ovaries may also be removed prophylactically or through risk reducing surgery in order to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer where there is a high risk of this developing, for example, the woman carries an inherited gene mutation (BRCA1, BRCA2, or Lynch Syndrome) or has a very strong family history of ovarian cancer.

More information here on genetic counselling and testing.

Potential benefits of surgical menopause:

  • Reduced risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Reduced anxiety about developing ovarian cancer.
  • Reduced risk of breast cancer in some high risk women.
  • Reduced pelvic pain for women with endometriosis.

Potential disadvantages of surgical menopause:

  • Abrupt onset of severe menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and sweats.
  • Loss of menstrual periods.
  • Loss of bone density with an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
  • Vaginal dryness that may lead to painful sexual intercourse.
  • Loss of interest in sex.
  • Loss of fertility.
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Poor quality sleep that can lead to significant fatigue.

Surgical menopause may have other adverse effects on health including negative effects on mood (increased depression and anxiety), cognition (difficulty concentrating and / or poor memory), and increased risk of dementia.

Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may reduce these risks and will relieve symptoms such as hot flushes after surgical menopause.

Our Services / Menopause Management