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Should I have my ovaries and cervix removed?

Question: I have to decide whether or not to have my ovaries and cervix removed with my uterus, but I don’t know what the pros and cons are for removal of these organs. Can you tell me what the considerations are, aside from the fact that mine are currently healthy?


Our Answer: Well, the ovaries continue to produce hormones for long after the menopause, including testosterone which acts on mood and libido, small amounts of oestrogen and testosterone. The cervix helps to support the pelvic organs, acts as a barrier to infection and seems to play a significant part in the experience of orgasm in women. However, if you are in a high risk category for cervical or ovarian cancer it might be worth considering removing them. If you have endometriosis then removal of the ovaries is usually recommended and if you have a cancer that is progesterone or oestrogen sensitive then again they may be removed. Our recommendation is not to have anything removed unless you need it to be simply because no one yet knows how the body works in it’s entirety and we are just scraping the surface of understanding at the moment.

A hysterectomy that removes the cervix is called a ‘total hysterectomy’, one that leaves the cervix intact is called a ‘subtotal hysterectomy’.

If you don’t have your cervix removed when you have your hysterectomy you will continue to need regular smear tests (pap smear) as a precaution against cervical cancer. If you do have your cervix removed, you will no longer need to have smear tests done.

Linda Parkinson-Hardman

Transformational counsellor, coach and women's health advocate. Professionally I'm an information scientist who specialises in change management, culture change and adoption of digital technologies in large enterprises and organisations. I am a writer and author of nine books to date, and I've edited a further seven; phew what a lot for a Thursday afternoon :-)

This Post Has 49 Comments
  1. I’m 45 and considering a partial hysterectomy. I have already had one ovary out due to extreme endo and cysts. I have had three lap surgeries to clean up my endo approximately every three years. My question is if I should have my cervix out. There are no cancerous cells and nothing runs in my family related to the cervix. I’m concerned it will weaken my pelvic floor and later in life (70-80’s) things will start falling. Any feedback would be appreciated.

  2. Hi I am 72yrs old very fit well and healthy and at the very beginning of this journey.not at all sure what to do.I have been told I have a prolapsed uterus,bowel and bladder.and I require a vaginal hysterectomy and anterior and posterior repair.The doctor at the hospital said that some ladies just live with it.The specilist nurses advised me to have the operation as I am fit and healthy.They said if I leave it much longer It could cause me to have a lot of problems.I am seeing my own GP this week to see what she has to say.Can anyone out there give me their views please.

  3. I will be having a hysterectomy soon, and I have the option of removing the cervix and the one ovary that remained.No history of cancer in the family.I have endometriosis and fibroid.My family have a high risk for stroke, I am concern if I do remove my other ovary I may be at risk for stroke.
    I am still indecisive about removing the cervix and my one ovary.

    Happy about your input.

  4. Hi I have a fibroid for which over the last 7 years I have had numerous different treatments including the coil which had to be surgically put in and taken out as I have a tilted cervixand novasure . I’ve now been offered a hysterectomy as my fibroid is now 10 cm but I’ve been given the choice of keeping or removing my tubes what do I do

  5. Hi I’m a 22 year old n I don’t have kids but I can’t cope with my periods I have them for 8weeks at a time on top I have polocysitic overies always I have sommit which mean all my eggs are already multiplied which means I lose a few thousand eggs per period which courses my period to course agonising pain and I can’t cope with it no more of course I want kids but I have a less then 1% chance of ever being a mum also I’m epileptic so if I was to fall pregnant which I can’t il properly die through child birth but I’m begging for help I want my overies gone I can’t cope with these agoning pains how can I convince a doctor to let me have the surgery to have them removed please help

  6. Hi
    I have a 7cm cyst on my left ovary and a small one on my right. The consultant has said its not cancerous but carnt guarantee it until it has been tested. I also have an hernia on the left had side due to a previous op and have endemetriosis. I am due to have joint procedure done to repair hernia and take the cyst and ovary removed. When I went to my pre op it has been suggested that I have an hysterectomy due to the fact that if the cyst shows abnormal cells it will be harder to get back in after hernia repair I am 51 years old.
    I am thinking an hysterectomy is the best option but what do you think?

  7. The truth is we know very little about how the human body works at a holistic level, we know about individual functions but not about how they influence other things. Yes we know a little about the hormones and functions of the ovaries but we probably don’t know everything. The decision is yours of course but it may be worth considering what we don’t know as much as what we do!

  8. I am 58 years old, been in Menopause for 10 years now with hardly any symptoms, save for a Hot Flash here and there, no big deal. I do not take any HRT now and do not want to in the future. I eat Clean, Organic, drink 70 OZ water a day and I mostly feel pretty good!
    My situation is, I have a Grade 4 Uterine Prolapse with a Large Rectocele issue.
    The surgeon is planning a Laproscopic Robotic Hysterectomy Sacropoplexy and told me he suggests taking the Ovaries out for ALL women over 55, but the choice is mine.
    Doc says I am in a “gray area”, between 55 and 65, so I am on my own in this decision.
    After much reading, I STILL am perplexed and not sure if given the fact that I have not had a period for over 10-12 years, and understanding that they can still produce Hormones for “many” years, AM I CONSIDERED ON THE BACK END OF THAT TIME PERIOD BY NOW ?
    Given my “Post 10-12 years Menopausal” status, can the Ovaries possibly still be beneficial to me in any way ? Both Ovaries measure 2.2 centimeters, and there are “follicles” noted on the Right one. One Doctor says “if they are over 2cm., take them out”
    My mother is in her 80″s, no cancer, never had any surgery for anything. (My sister had surgery for painful benign cysts and endometriosis.)
    This has me up nights AGONIZING over this decision. I of course, want the Cardiovascular protection, etc., and am normally in the “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it club”, but a friend just got OV.C., and I don’t want to be… “foolish” either.
    Again , the DILEMA I feel about keeping the Ovaries is predicated on MY AGE, 58 and being 10 years into Menopause !
    Any THOUGHTS, IDEAS would be VERY welcome in helping me gain some better perspective on this. Thanks !

  9. I am 58 years old, been in Menopause for 10 years now with hardly any symptoms, save for a Hot Flash here and there, no big deal. I do not take any HRT, because I am not convinced it is healthy,I eat Organic, drink 80 OZ water a day and I mostly feel pretty good!
    My situation is, I have a Grade 4 Uterine Prolapse with a Large Rectocele issue.
    The surgeon is planning a Laproscopic Robotic Hysterectomy Sacropoplexy and told me he suggests taking the Ovaries out for ALL women over 55, but the choice is mine.
    Doc says I am in a “gray area”, between 55 and 65, so I am on my own in this decision.
    I have read through your great information, but STILL am perplexed and not sure if given the fact that I have not had a period for over 10-12 years, and understanding that they can still produce Hormones for “many” years, AM I CONSIDERED ON THE BACK END OF THAT TIME PERIOD BY NOW ?
    Given my “Post 10-12 years Menopausal” status, can the Ovaries possibly still be beneficial to me in any way ? Both Ovaries measure 2.2 centimeters, and there are “follicles” noted on Right one. One Doctor says “if they are over 2cm., take them out”
    My mother is in her 80″s, no cancer, never had any surgery for anything. (My sister had surgery for benign cysts and endometriosis.)
    This has me up nights AGONIZING over this decision. I of course, want the Cardiovascular protection, etc., and am normally in the “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it club”, but a friend just got OV.C., and I don’t want to be… “foolish” either.
    Again , the DILEMA I feel about keeping the Ovaries is predicated on my age, 58.
    Any THOUGHTS, IDEAS would be VERY welcome in helping me gain some better perspective on this. Thanks !

  10. Hi, I am scheduled for a hysterectomy on 12/08/15 and petrified and not looking forward to it at all after reading so many negative experiences. My consultant never discussed any alternative treatments nor why ‘everything’ is being removed, I don’t have fibroids, polyps, cancer, pain or bleeding, so why? No-one will talk to me and I want answers before I can make a decision – who can help me with less than two weeks to go? I feel like just cancelling the whole thing.

  11. The only person who can make the decision is you and it will depend on how much you judge leaving your ovaries in place to be a risk. You must also weight up the pros and cons of potentially having more surgery in the future if something does go amiss.

  12. Hi, I will soon be 59 years old. I will be having a vaginal hysterectomy due to having a prolapsed bladder and will be having that repaired also. I had a sister that died at age 70 from ovarian cancer and a sister that died at age 57 from uterine cancer. I am debating whether to have my ovaries removed. The doctor said he could check them during surgery and if they are ok not remove them. But I guess I am having second thoughts on what to do. I don’t want them removed if they are still healthy but not sure about the future. What are your thoughts on this? Thank you.

  13. You can ask, they may not agree it yet but it’s always worth having the discussion.

  14. I’ve just been told after having my 3rd treatment for cin 3 changes can’t have any more. If it comes back then hysterectomy will be needed. Should I ask for one any way my mum died of cervical cancer. Should I ask my doctor about hysterectomy?

  15. Hi

    I am 57 years old, have low back pain and leg aches. I’ve had fibroids for years and recently intermittent bleeding which may be caused by polyp. Consultant said not sure if it was a polyp as a fibroid was obscuring it, so going for an MRI to see more clearly. I take a very low dose HRT, Ellese duet 2 mgs (of which I only take half a tablet per day) due to bones being stiff without, as went into complete withdrawal due to sudden cessation of pill after 40 years at age 55. I saw consultant gynae yesterday who said he would remove my ovaries also because I am already on HRT and they could become cancerous at a later date and besides what did it matter as i’m already on HRT and post menopausal. I would like to keep my ovaries if I can because I think I am only on a low dose HRT because they may still be producing some good hormones despite the fact I am post menopausal. I would appreciate any advice on whether I should have my ovaries removed and also cervix. Many thanks.

  16. A side effect of HRT is weight gain – not weight loss. If you don’t need the cervix removed then that should stay as it will help with pelvic stability; the common reason for removing the ovaries is cancer, oestrogen dependent cancer risk or endometriosis, if you don’t have these then you need to ask why he wants to remove the ovaries.

  17. I had a hysterectomy 2 years ago. I had vaginal hysterectomy, and my cervix and womb were removed, but I kept my ovaries. Due to having 2 very large fibroids, one near my bowel and one close to my bladder. So every month, when I had my periods, my cysts would enlarge and I would have terrible pain and trouble going too toilet and frequent weeing. Which ruined my life. The operation went well, but the surgeon said my womb was huge, which made my operation very difficult. Post-op was ok. But I suffer from back ache now and again, which I find a bit difficult, because I have a very active job. The worse part is the weight gain, and high blood pressure. Use to be a size 14 trousers and now I’m a size 18. But I have too be on high blood pressure tablets, the doctors want me too lose more weight, but I find it very hard.

  18. I’ve been told I need to have a hysterectomy and my consultant is saying he wants to remove the ovaries but unsure about the cervix. My concerns are regarding weight gain, loss of energy and loss of bladder control – my job is fitness instructor so these aren’t vanities but real concerns for my future livelihood.

    From what I have read, the cervix is important to maintain pelvic floor strength so I’m hoping he will leave this, but I accept he will remove the ovaries. He has told me he will give me HRT which will prevent weight gain?!? Is this true? I’m dreading the procedure having read so many negative comments in this regard.

  19. Large fibroid causing pelvic pain brought me to the OBGYN for the first time, with exception of pregnancy. Top doctors are insisting the cervix isn’t necessary and that vaginal hysterectomy is safer than abdominal surgery to remove the fibroid and uterus. Yes, the skill level is so high they can give me an option. I’m not comfortable losing the cervix, there is no reason to remove it other than surgery method. Any materials to assist me with this decision? Thanks

  20. Hi, I’m due hysterectomy next month, I have severe endometriosis and fed up with symptoms suffered for last few years. I am really undecided on whether to have ovaries removed, one ovary is covered in endometriosis second has traces. Recommendation from gyno was to consider having both removed as ovaries attract endometriosis and likely would have to have further opetation further down the line paired with risk of cancer. I’m 39 and worried how menopause so young would effect me and my partner, I have two children under four so want to remain healthy and active as possible.

  21. Thank you so much for all your wonderful information on Hysterectomy. I now know that when I go to my assessment to speak to Consultant, I now have very important questions to ask, as when he last examined me he was vague in telling me. I am not suffering pain only discomfort from prolapse. He told me I need an Hysterectomy, but did not discuss the removal of other important organs. I have signed consent form, but will speak to him to tell him that I did not realise what he was saying. I will stay firm now thanks to you and other women with their stories. I am 68 and go the gym regularly, and I feel well and fit.

  22. I was informed i must have a hysterectomy because of the size of the uterus and the fibroids. I want to keep my fallopian tubes, my cervix and my ovaries. My mothers mother died of cervical cancer which is treatable if caught early. i understand wanting to remove the uterus because of its size but my fallopian tubes, cervix and ovaries there isn’t anything wrong with them. i want to keep them. Has anyone else done this. Please let me know

  23. Hi Risa. There is no simple answer to the question unfortunately. Your ovaries will continue to produce small amounts of hormones for many years to come, and the cervix helps to support the pelvic floor. You need to weigh up the possible risk you have of cancer with the benefits of keeping what doesn’t need to be removed.

  24. Hello , I am new to this group…….My name is Risa
    I JUST went to My Gyno, yesterday ..and he is an absolute doll..Listens to me with understanding….Ive been flooding with extreme cramping for 2 1/2 years, Needless to say I AM FED UP… He said at my age of 55…. and he feels that yes a hysterectomy is the answer to my major flooding…., yet he feels he would take out cervix, uterus and ovaries… Why keep what can possibly cause you more problems… I have been tested and thankfully there is no sign of cancer anywhere, I do have 2 small fibroids..What feedback can you ladies help me with….?
    Dr suggest FULL…. says because of my age, no need to keep what can further be a problem later on…Full or partial…?I dont feel i want my ovaries removed , as they are healthy….yet if i keep the cervix, i will continue to bleed , (lightly) , but i want NO MORE BLOOD !! I mean, “if its not broke , dont fix it”…Not so sure this saying is true with body organs…. LOL…help me please…
    Thanks

  25. I have scheduled a LSH for August. Now I think I want the Doc to also take my cervix. I have had bad menses my whole life I am 44 now. I had a Ablation in January that was a failure no relief maybe because I have a fibroid or just bad luck. So I am afraid that if I leave the cervix I will continue to bleed.

  26. I am scheduled for a hysterectomy in june, the burning question is what are the benefits of leaving the cervix? my ovaries will also be left intact. my problem is adenomyosis which leads to heavy and painful periods which results in anaemia.

  27. I was diagnosed with fibroids, ovarian cysts and after trying various treatment options I feel a hysterectomy is my best option now. Several small fibroids and a large one growing within the walls of my uterus which causes me excessive pain. I was in extreme pain every day of every month. I will be scheduled to have hysterectomy next month in India with the help of a medical tourism who gave me a list of high qualified and trusted doctors and hospitals ( http://www.placidway.com/cost-searchlist/India,Hysterectomy,Fertility_Treatment/ ). Yes, I had multiple opinions from doctors, and they all said that I needed the hysterectomy and they ask me to keep all my medical decisions documented and on file. I have schedule my surgery early, so I can recover somewhere more comfortable while having a vacation in India. All I know is that I can’t wait to be free from this pain and pray that everything will went well.

  28. I am scheduled for Weds April 9th for a Hysterectomy…with or without the cervix is what I have to decide. Ugh! I don’t have a history of abnormal apps and I’ve done quite a bit of reading but I still don’t know which direction to go. I have a fibroid the size of a tennis ball in my uterus and have decided that more children (or at least from my womb) will not be in the future. He has suggested removing my tubes, keeping my overies, or just removing the uterus! What a lot to consider!! My concern with removing the cervix is its support to everything else around it. Now I read about the bleeding that occurs if I keep my cervix from my no longer there uterus! If it helps support organs and its not broken, why fix it?? Keep my cervix? Yes or no? Does it support other organs? Please help me.

  29. The stance of the Hysterectomy Association has always been that if it doesn’t need removing then it should stay – we are still learning about the way the human body works so can’t say for certain what impact removing things can have long term – however, this does depend on other factors such as whether you are at high risk of developing gynae cancers, if you are then it might be worth talking it through with your GP.

  30. I’m scheduled for laproscopic surgery in three days. I have opted to keep my cervix and my ovaries (I’m 46), but am giving up my fallopian tubes. The uterus is being removed because I have fibroids that maybe the cause of pelvic pain, including trouble walking, and bladder urges since the golf ball sized fibroid is pressing on my bladder. I opted to keep my cervix and my ovaries. I’m concerned about giving up my tubes -there seems to be debate that ovarian cancers may form in the tubes, while there is also reports that the tubes deliver blood to the ovaries…. Fibroids run in my family, but not ovarian/cervical/breast cancers. I will post back with how I’m doing. Any news about taking or leaving tubes would be appreciated.

  31. I had my hysterectomy back in 09. They took everything but my ovaries. I had endo really bad. I had a few problems after the surgery. I ended up having spastic colon, from the endo. But nothing I couldn’t handle. Then today I was at work and went to the bathroom and I was bleeding. I went to the ER they did test but didn’t see where I was bleeding from. They came in and said all test came back good. She said she thought it might have been a seroma. I looked it up and there is no way. It said a seroma was a sack of clear fluid ” not blood” and that it occurs after surgery. No where did I see that you could still have one 4 yrs out. So now I’m kinda freaken out. I have had no pain, nothing. Does anyone have any Ideas.

  32. The ovaries will continue to produce small amounts of oestrogen and progesterone post menopause together with roughly the same amount of testosterone they did before menopause. Removing your ovaries will cause you to go through the menopause immediately, but you are already in menopause so you may not notice many symptoms. There is only one type of hysterectomy – that is because a hysterectomy removes the womb only. It is the associated surgery that you are concerned about – whether to have the ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as well. I can’t comment about whether you should have both or just one ovary removed, only you can decide that.

  33. I am having a hysterectomy in April. I have a history of cyst on at least my left ovary that ruptured in my early 20 (I thought I was going to die). The Transvaginal MRI that I asked my doctor for showed a small cyst on my left ovary. I am now 53 with 2 grown children. My test also showed significant Adenomyosis distending into the cervix, as well as cyst in the cervix. My pap was normal. The adenomyosis is 11 mm by 6.5 mm not including the invasive part into my cervix, it on the lower part of my uterus. Is this considered a growth or tumor or just edometrial lining gone crazy It will be a complete hysterectomy, leaving only the vagina. I have not gone through menopause, but I am in Peri-menopause with heavy bleeding when I do have a period. The pain is very intense, I have spent more time in bed than up and staying in shape because doing to much can bring about severe pain and swelling of my stomach. My Stomach can swell like I’m 6 months pregnant, which puts me in bed for about 2 days straight (pain). I have Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (CTCL), when I tried to complete a round of chemo last year. I would have to stop almost as soon as I started because of bladder infections and extreme pain across my lower stomach. It is not unusual for chemo to cause extreme fatigue, exhaustion along with insomnia which makes the fatigue even greater so after trying to get through chemo I gave up and decided to try later in the year, that never happened. I just continued in pain and bladder infections. I was treated for bladder infections 11 times in 8 months. Which after having a clean biospy of my bladder I believe that it is pressure from my bigger and heavier uterus not allowing the bladder to empty all the way. I also have to take laxatives to not get a blockage. After I stopped the chemo the fatigue, pain, bladder infections never went away, so I have lived a non life since last May 2012. The surgery is going to be through the vagina and small incisions. My first question should is should I consider keeping the ovary that I haven’t had trouble with? I get mixed information on the internet and from my doctor about hormones, the doctor said that having the ovaries removed is like going through hysterectomy suddenly instead of gradually. That after menopause the ovaries don’t make hormones anymore, he told me this after I asked him if I would need hormone replacement. But I have read some articles that say the ovaries do still make hormones. I asked him that I had heard growing up that when women have their ovaries removed that they can go crazy. He said no it may cause some depression by the abrupt entry into menopause. I also wonder if I should be having this done the old fashion way in case of cancer. I have thought about asking my oncologist for a tomography as I haven’t had one for three years. It could pick up on cancer that other test don’t. The insurance company only pays for this if you have cancer or a high likely hood of cancer. It would be good to know in advance, to make sure that I am having the right type of hysterectomy.

  34. Unless there is a direct medical cause for the removal of ovaries and the cervix then in most cases it’s recommended to leave them in place; however as with everything in life there are shades of grey and this is one of them. Cancer is often hereditary and if you are concerned that it could be an issue then it’s worth taking action.

  35. I too am getting ready to have a hysterectomy because of Adenomyosis and a ovarian cyst. My doctor has recommended that I only get one ovary removed and to keep the other one so that I don’t go into full menopause (I’m only 41). I don’t have the issue of having any children because I’ve been infertile since my 20’s. I know that cervical cancer is supposedly not hereditary in women, but my mother died at age 27 of cervical cancer. Since I know that I will never have any children I’m wondering if I should ask to have my cervix removed, too when I go in for my consult referral for my pre-op. I’d rather just not take the chance honestly and I don’t really need it, do I? After all, it took them over 2 years worth of tests to figure out that I have Adenomyosis that finally showed up on a MRI.

  36. Hi Elaine, I don’t think anyone can tell you what the odds are because there are so many factors involved. However, if you had a history of cancer in your family then that would be a factor worth taking into account.

  37. I am due to have a total hysterectomy in Oct and I am still unsure whether to have my ovaries removed. I am having this due to heavy periods and it is not cancer related. I know the benefits of keeping my ovaries, but I am worried about them turning cancerous as they start to fail. I have heard by the time I know this has happened it will more than likely be too late. So, I am now struggling to make the right decision. Does anyone know what the odds are on ovaries turning cancerous if there is no cancer related illnesses on in my family (as far as I know).

  38. I learned that if there is any chance of there being cancer cells a total hysterectomy is required. Also, if heavy bleeding is the issue one can still have mini-periods, or bleeding if the cervix remains. As for the ovaries. well, I was told I needed at least one since I have not gone through menopause yet. Ovaries are also needed for natural hormones and sexual issues.

  39. Hi Natalie. Unfortunately there are no quick fixes for diet and exercise and I suspect the reason you find exercise so hard is because you’ve put the weight on and been ill for quite some time as well – try taking it slower and being a little kinder to yourself – your body has been through a lot recently and is still recovering.

  40. I had a total hysterectomy one year ago, aged 45, I still do not know why my cervix was removed, i believed i has no choice it was just part of the procedure until i found this sight. I’ve received no advice about hormone replacement, menopause or weight gain. Before the operation i was at the Gym six times a week and a size 8-10 i am now a big size 12 and stomach is a totally different shape, i’ve tried to return to the gym but i am constantly exhausted my fitness levels are none existence and i get so hot when exercising i feel i cannot breath. Is weight gain and round hard fat belly a thing i will have to endure for the rest of my life? I did return to the gym after eight weeks after i was given the okay from my consultant and by bladder collapsed, i had a bladder reconstruction at the same time. I had vaginal bladder repair last October so now i have no cervix and bulge scaring from the vaginal surgery. I am dieting and trying to attend the gym 2 -3 times a week but i just seem to keep getting heavier and rounder!! are there any diet tips or exercises that help?

  41. i have just found your website recently i am just waiting for my consultants appointment my nerves are getting to me and i am trying to stay positive. i have someone who has dealt with my doctor and they spoke very highly of him and that has really helped reading your info has also helped thank you. joyce

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