What happens to me sexually when the ovaries are removed?

What happens when your ovaries are removed?

As far as your ability to engage in sexual activity is concerned, there are no physical reasons why you cannot continue in your usual manner, though a decrease in vaginal lubrication may make it necessary to use extra lubrication during intercourse. Because the ovaries are not the only production site for estrogens (the adrenal glands also produce androgens, which govern sexual desire), there should be no change in your sexual desires. When the ovaries are removed or destroyed, either by surgery or radiation, menopause occurs, often bringing with it hot flashes or other symptoms which may be more severe than those that accompany naturally occurring menopause. For women of childbearing age, this can be an emotionally difficult time, for they must come to grips with the fact that they can no longer have children.

I've had radiation treatments for cervical cancer and find that vaginal dryness is making sex uncomfortable. What's the solution?

This is a common problem following radiation of tissues in the reproductive area. The side effect may develop as early as 2 to 3 weeks after the start oftreatment that is, following the first dose of external radiation or implant therapy or it may develop as long as 6 to 8 months after treatment. A lessening in vaginal lubrication results from changes in the tissues lining the vagina. Vaginal dryness may cause itching and/or tightness in the vagina and make intercourse uncomfortable. For relief, use a water soluble lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly) before intercourse. Your doctor may prescribe estrogen supplements or estrogen cream to help keep the vagina moist and supple.

Will removal of the uterus mean that I'll gain weight?

No. There is no evidence that there is any change in metabolism because of the removal of the uterus.

What happens to the body when both ovaries are removed?

When both ovaries are removed, as part of a hysterectomy, symptoms of the menopause develop.

What happens when one ovary is removed?

There are no noticeable effects when only one ovary is removed.

When cancer is found in one ovary, can the other ovary be saved?

In some cases only one ovary is removed. It depends on the stage of disease, the age of the patient and other factors.

Is radiation ever used before a hysterectomy to treat cancer?

In some cases, radiation treatment is done before the operation to try to shrink the tumor or to contain it. Radiation is also sometimes used after surgery. It may be external radiation or an implant.

What is the treatment for endometrial cancer if it has spread?

The hormonal drug progesterone is the usual treatment for endometrial cancer that has spread. Chemotherapy drugs are also being used on an investigational basis for this cancer.


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