Removal of one or both ovaries increases incidence of cognitive loss
HERS Foundation said...
This article is soon to be published in the Journal 'Neurology'. Many hysterectomized and castrated women experience memory problems that began after the surgery. Because they are often ridiculed by doctors for connecting their memory problems to their surgery their concerns and experiences are often trivialized by family and friends.
The Real Experts have been telling the so-called medical experts for a century that castration causes memory loss and impaired cognitive function. Doctors tell them their memory loss is because they have a relationship problem with a partner, family or friends. They tell them taking hormones is the remedy. And they tell them they have memory loss because the are depressed.
The loss of memory results in a profound loss of self and identity. Competent, intelligent, dynamic women suddenly have difficulty finding the common ordinary words they know as well as their own names. Thoughts run around the edge of their brains, unable to be retrieved. Most women characterize this tremendous loss as irritating, frustrating, and terrifying. The thing that I always find incredible is the way so many women have learned to cope with this loss by compensating. Sometimes it's a facile changing subject, or with a laugh, "oh, you know what I mean". Sometimes it's like charades. "It's green, it's wood, it has a back, and you sit on it." All the while she's trying to be pleasant and not show how foolish it feels to play a game to get others to guess what is in her head.
Women who experience these problems can use this article to help family and friends understand what is so difficult to comprehend and accept, particularly because it is denied by gynecologists who perform the surgery. Acknowledging the problems caused by hysterectomy is not good for business. Kudos to the authors.
Increased risk of cognitive impairment
or dementia in women who underwent
oophorectomy before menopause
W.A. Rocca, MD, MPH
J.H. Bower, MD
D.M. Maraganore, MD
J.E. Ahlskog, PhD, MD
B.R. Grossardt, MS
M. de Andrade, PhD
L.J. Melton III, MD, MPH
Objective: There is increasing laboratory evidence for a neuroprotective effect of estrogen; however,
the clinical and epidemiologic evidence remains limited and conflicting. We studied the association
of oophorectomy performed before the onset of menopause with the risk of subsequent cognitive impairment or dementia.
Methods: We included all women who underwent unilateral or bilateral oophorectomy before the
onset of menopause for a non-cancer indication while residing in Olmsted County, MN, from 1950
through 1987. Each member of the oophorectomy cohort was matched by age to a referent woman from the same population who had not undergone oophorectomy. In total, we studied 813 women with unilateral oophorectomy, 676 women with bilateral oophorectomy, and 1,472 referent
women. Women were followed through death or end of study using either direct or proxy
Results: Women who underwent either unilateral or bilateral oophorectomy before the onset of
menopause had an increased risk of cognitive impairment or dementia compared to referent
women (hazard ratio [HR] 1.46;95%CI 1.13 to 1.90; adjusted for education, type of interview, and history of depression). The risk increased with younger age at oophorectomy (test for linear
trend; adjusted p 0.0001). These associations were similar regardless of the indication for the
oophorectomy, and for women who underwent unilateral or bilateral oophorectomy considered
Conclusions: Both unilateral and bilateral oophorectomy preceding the onset of menopause are associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment or dementia. The effect is age-dependent and suggests a critical age window for neuroprotection. Neurology® 2007;69:1074–1083