Please note that, though I haven't had time yet to go back and cross-reference the data for the below, it is all contained in the Citations section. At some point, I will have time to do this. Thanks.
Background: Of the 830,000 hysterectomies performed in the U.S. every year (sources: the CDC & the AHRQ), 764,000 are for benign conditions, and another 50,000 are related to a cancer diagnosis. Of the 764,000 surgeries for benign conditions, at least 472,000 of the women also lose the function of their healthy ovaries alongside their hysterectomy (420,000 women are convinced to remove them at the time of surgery, and those of another 52,000 fail due to the surgery in that year within a few years due to loss of blood flow). These surgeries are so commonplace that they go virtually unnoticed. Another 300,000 women are persuaded to allow their healthy ovaries to be removed when they are found to have ovarian cysts, the vast majority of which are benign. In total, about 772,000 women's healthy ovaries are removed every year. Why does it matter?
Since at least the 1910s, the medical community has understood that a woman's ovaries produce essential hormones throughout her lifetime. They know that, after menopause, the level of testosterone produced by the ovaries increases until, by her 70s, a woman is making as much as she was when she was young. They also know that much of that testosterone turns into estrogen in fat cells and skin, and that the right balance of those endogenous hormones perform many important bio-protective, endocrine functions in women as they age.
In addition, the doctors know that only 1.3% of all women have a risk of ovarian cancer (source: SEER data), and that the risk reduction offered by ovary removal in the average woman is less than 1/2 of 1%. Despite this, 55% of all women having a hysterectomy to address pain from fibroids, endometriosis, etc., as well as women presenting with cysts, more than 2,000 women every single day, are convinced to remove their healthy ovaries at the same time as a hysterectomy, either because they have been led to believe that they are reducing a serious risk of cancer or that they are removing organs that will stop working in a few years anyway, or both. Neither of these things is true. What is true is that there are serious health implications to that surgery and that prophylactic oophorectomy as a practice should end without further study or question.
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