Will ovary removal affect sex life?

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Question from Annesenchack: I am considering having my ovaries removed now that my breast cancer treatment is over. I am only 32 and have only been married for 4 years. I am concerned at the effect having my ovaries removed will have on our sex life. Can you provide some help?
Answers - Su Kenderdine You're right; it would not be friendly to your sex life. I'm not sure that the research shows that removing the ovaries adds so much positive benefit to be worth what it does. Medication really can go a long way in reducing the negative of the ovary function without surgery.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. I agree. But if your doctors are recommending removal of the ovaries because of a breast cancer gene in your family, in order to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer as well, then using medications to reduce ovarian function won't accomplish the intended benefit of prophylactic ovary removal. If your doctor's intention is to reduce the estrogen in your body as far down as it can go, this can be done with medication rather than surgery or radiation to the ovaries.

Either way, if your ovaries are removed or if they're shut down by medication, your young body will experience a whole new environment with much less of the hormones that it's used to experiencing. Your body can adapt significantly to this and adjust itself and help bring back parts of what felt like normal to you. But it still will be different.
Su Kenderdine Remember, a lot of women well into their menopause in their 70s continue to enjoy sex, want sex, and reach climax. So you can have a good sex life. Is it different and probably less intense than a 22-year-old? Yes. But your sex life comes from your head, not your ovaries, ultimately.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Sleep or Sex? You Can Have Both! featured Carroll Kenderdine, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about how to maintain sexual intimacy during and after treatment, what to do for loss of libido and vaginal dryness, ways to reduce the fatigue related to breast cancer, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2004.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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