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Ovary Removal Linked to Lower Pelvic Prolapse Risk

Update Date: Nov 26, 2014 03:42 PM EST

Removing the ovaries at hysterectomy may lower women's risk of pelvic organ prolapse after menopause, according to a new study.

Researchers said the latest study contradicts traditional belief that removing ovaries at hysterectomy boosts a woman's risk of pelvic organ prolapse after menopause.

Researchers said that latest findings are important, as the cancer risk of ovary removal at hysterectomy has never been determined.

Previous studies revealed that removing them reduces the risk of breast cancer and the risk of ovarian cancer. However, researchers have also linked the operation to increased mortality, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and osteoporosis and with declines in cognitive ability and sexual function.

Many experts also believed that ovary removal increases the risk of pelvic organ prolapse. However, the latest study of nearly 9,000 female participants in the Women's Health Initiative, researchers found that kept their ovaries actually had a 23 percent higher risk of experiencing organ prolapse than those who had removed their ovaries and received no subsequent estrogen therapy.

"When it comes to prolapse, age is likely more important than menopause and estrogen decline," Dr. Margery Gass, the executive director of The North American Menopause Society, said in a statement.

The study "Effects of bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy at the time of hysterectomy on pelvic organ prolapse: results from the Women's Health Initiative trial," was published online in the journal Menopause.

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