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ask: What possible side effects of removing 1 ovary? Or should I have both removed?

By zoots
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Newbie here so I hope I'm doing this right....LOL I found out 3 years ago that I have 3 cysts on my right ovary. My gyne has been watching them closely via ultrasounds and CA125 blood tests because my mom had ovarian cancer 13 yrs. ago....alive and healthy!! My CA125 are within the normal ranges. Within the past year the cysts started growing a little bit. He first suggested removing the right ovary only but after my last ultrasound suggested removing both but also wanted me to go see an oncologist gynecologist. I went to see the Dr. that performed my mother's surgery and a very high rated doctor. I had an ultrasound done today and he called me to tell me that he does want to remove the right ovary for sure and gave me the option to remove both ovaries but not the uterus. The left ovary is healthy but given my history it's up to me. I am 47 and premenopausal. I feel I should only have the right one removed so that I do not go into instant menopause as I already suffer from mild depression. I am still trying to digest all this so any input would be appreciated. I should add I have a very supportive husband and family and of course they are leaving the decision up to me. Thanks so much!

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EmpowHER Guest

I'm 37 and in the past three years have had both ovaries removed and been diagnosed with Stage 2C ovarian cancer. I had my appendix and momentum removed and have been clean since. I still have some bleeding even though I am on Birth control pills for hormones. I have noticed that I can't seem to lose any weight. I am extremely active...I crossfit everyday, cycle every other day, run and swim every other day, but still do not see weight loss. I do see results muscle wise, but my belly fat is still high. The surgery has changed a lot of my life, I still enjoy sex, but find myself having to remind myself about having it. LOL I am tired but supplement that with B12 and other vitamins, my bones do feel different but that could just be from the exercise. I will say that having the ovaries gone is emotional, I call it the equivalent of having the testicles removed. It saved my life and my husbands life, because now I can be with him longer. If anyone can tell me how to improve weight loss and fatigue that would be awesome. Prayers for all and remember it's about improving the quality of life!!

September 7, 2013 - 10:08am
EmpowHER Guest

10 years back when I was 26 I got a large cyst on my left overy and it got removed using laproscopy along with the left overy. I was told that if my periods are regular then I am OK. Now I am 36 unmarried. Recently I am trying to have sex with my boy friend, but sometimes I am having pain and a couple of times I was little satisfied. Is there anything to deal with it. And my major concern is do I have chances to get pregnant. If I have to confirm it through the doctor, what I have to ask my doctor.

Thanks in advance.

April 11, 2012 - 3:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi.. No i still have my left ovary but it still has that cyst.. i really dont know why cant get pregnant if my gynecologist says im ok.. we have been trying for very long nothing.. do you happen to have any good advice on this?

September 2, 2011 - 11:07pm

I had a hysterectomy last year and one ovary was left in tact because it was healthy and my doctor said it would provide me with some needed hormones and would decrease my mortality rate. I noticed a few months ago that my right breast (my right ovary was removed) is now significantly smaller than my left breast. They were always a bit lopsided, but now the two are noticeably different and I may need to wear some type of padding. I'm wondering if this might have something to do with the removal of the right ovary. I have no pain, no lumps, no discharge and both nipples are symetrical and identical to one another. I did read somewhere that when one breast becomes smaller than the other it could be a sign of breast cancer. I did lose about 10 pounds and I do use my right arm more now since becoming a medical assistant having to manually take blood pressures approximately 30 times a day. Is is possible it's just more noticeale now since the weight loss and my right side is leaner from the exercise? Breasts are made up mostly of fat, right?

August 6, 2011 - 8:03am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi I am interested to hear from you. did you removed your other ovary?

August 3, 2011 - 5:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had my right ovary removed 5 years ago due to a huge cyst and i also had a D&C done because they said the baby had no room to grow. My husband and I really want to get pregnant, but it has been hard. We have been trying for 3 years now and nothing. The first time I got pregnant it only took us 1 month and i got pregnant right away. I've been to the OB/GYN and she says that I am ok that i just have a small cyst on my remaining ovary. I've been on the pill for 6 months to see if it would go away but it didnt. I recently stopped taking them and i got my period 1 week later. I really hope we get pregnant soon i dont know what to do.. PLEASE help.. thank you

June 25, 2011 - 9:18pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hormone treatment isn't possible for someone who has had breast cancer. What can I do to minimize the symptoms of instant menopause if I decide to have both ovaries removed?

March 18, 2010 - 1:36pm
Alison Beaver (reply to Anonymous)

There are many remedies to help relieve the symptoms of menopause, but unfortunately, you will not know which symptoms need relieving until the time comes (if you choose to have both ovaries removed). Some women experience menopausal symptoms; others do not...it is not predestined to have menopausal symptoms that are unbearable! Symptoms can range from mild to severe; some symptoms can linger while others seem to dissipate on their own.

There are so many possible scenarios, including different types of symptoms, your tolerance level to those symptoms, as well as different treatment options, that there is no "one-size-fits-all" that is available, unfortunately.

If you are interested in doing some preliminary research, however, we can help guide you in a certain direction by narrowing down your options to a few broad categories:
- Are you interested in "natural" ways to relieve menopausal symptoms that fall under the realm of "alternative and complementary medicine"?
- Are you interested in more "traditional" or "medical" ways to relieve symptoms?
- Are you interested in symptom relief with something you can consume (prescription or OTC medication, herbal remedy, foods/diet)
- Are you interested in symptom relief with something you can actively do (type of exercise, professional service or lifestyle/behavior change)
- Are you interested in symptom relief with something you can buy (products)

March 18, 2010 - 2:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am 49 years old and also considering having an ovary removed that has a dermoid cyst in it. I may want to have both cysts removed because I recently finished breast cancer treatment and now want to eliminate estrogen in my body to reduce risk of recurrence. I'm worried about instant menopause, too. I'll be seeing a gynecologic oncologist in a couple of weeks for his opinion. I'd like to hear what others have to say on this who may have been through something similar.

March 18, 2010 - 1:34pm
Tina Tran

How fortunate you are to have a supportive family and this is no doubt a tough decision. We submitted your question to Barbara Dehn -- a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years caring for women. She has written an award winning Menopause Guide at www.blueorchidpress.com/ . Here's what she had to say.

Wow, you've been through a lot in the last 3 years, and you must be very worried because of your mom's history of Ovarian Cancer. It also sounds like you've been getting excellent gynecological care and advice from 2 different doctors. You've got a dilemma right? What should you do with the information you have now. I gather from your email that you really don't want to have both ovaries removed, and perhaps you need more reassurance or more information from your health care providers so that you understand why they are making these suggestions.

It's always best to talk to the physicians and health care providers who know your history and have performed your exams as they have a fuller picture of your situation. I would advise you to call them and discuss your concerns and ask more questions, so that you are making a truly informed decision. Since your family is very supportive, having one of them with you during those discussions may also be helpful.

Having said that, as I read your email, and think about your situation, I would agree with both doctors. In my opinion, the safest thing for you to do, given your family history, your age and your risk of ovarian cancer is to have both ovaries removed. Your ovaries will be decreasing their hormone output and you're already headed to menopause. Hormone treatments can be started right away, and what we are discovering now is that younger women who start hormones have fewer risks than women who start in their 60's. As for your depression, the worry about whether you'll develop ovarian cancer may be playing a role here. Also, 10% of women will develop a thyroid issue, so be sure to ask for a thyroid blood test too.

Sometimes we just need to hear the same advice from several different people before we can make our decision. I hope that this has helped you. Best of luck and let us know how everything turns out.

Barbara Dehn NP, www.nursebarb.com

July 21, 2008 - 8:36pm
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