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Hysterectomy Questions: If my ovaries are removed during hysterectomy do I need

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Updated December 28, 2003

If my ovaries are taken out during surgery, should I take medicine to replace the hormones the ovaries used to produce?

The ovaries produce the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen helps the body in a number of ways. For example, it helps to prevent heart disease and osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become weak and can break easily). It also prevents vaginal dryness.

There is some concern that taking estrogen after your body stops producing it naturally might be harmful. Some research has shown that taking estrogen for many years may increase your risk for breast cancer. Also, if you had endometriosis before menopause, your endometriosis may come back if you start to take estrogen after menopause.

You should carefully consider the risks and benefits of estrogen replacement therapy. Ask your doctor to explain anything you don't understand.

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Reprinted from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)

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