What will happen to me if I have surgery?

There are several potential side effects to consider associated with risk-reducing surgery.

Medical menopause

The most significant side-effect of risk reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is the menopause; the time in a woman’s life when she stops having periods.

The natural menopause is usually very gradual, giving a woman time to adjust to the changes that are happening to her body. But when the menopause occurs because the ovaries are surgically removed, symptoms can be quite severe due to the abrupt onset of hormonal changes.

Symptoms can include:

  • Hot flushes
  • Vaginal discomfort and dryness 
  • Needing to wee more frequently and urgently

Less common symptoms including brittle nails, thinning of the skin, hair loss and aches and pains

Besides the physical symptoms you may feel:

  • Too young to be going through the menopause
  • Worried about your options to have a baby
  • Less feminine
  • Worried about the future

There are many different ways to treat symptoms of a surgical menopause and you may like to discuss the options with your GP or consultant:

  • Following a healthy lifestyle
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Anti-depressants such as Citalopram, Paroxetine and Venlafaxine
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Counselling
  • Herbal supplements
  • Vaginal oestrogen

These are NHS England guidelines (also followed in Wales). You can download a PDF of this guide containing NHS Scotland guidelines here. If you have any questions please contact Ross@ovarian.org.uk.