I have elected to have my ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed because of my family's depressing history of breast and ovarian cancer. I am very 'unsure' about how it will be post op. I'm told by health professionals that I will feel dreadful! Any advice about managing symptoms (I have been offered a mirina coil and HRT gel but not sure if they are for me) or what to expect post-op would be greatly welcomed. My op is at the end of April.

32 Replies

  • Hello lovely, I am 5 weeks post op, total hysterectomy, omentum, lymphs and apart from a sticky first few days, every day has gotten better I am now walking 4 k a day and doing great. I know each lady has different reactions to the huge aray of drugs your body is bombarded with, I am currently taking the odd paracetamol (1today)., but personally it's not been as bad as I thought it would. I did have help at home for the first 2 weeks which was a godsend. As I'm awaiting chemo I'm not able to restart my HRT so can not offer any advice on that side.

    Good luck and try not to worry too much.


  • Thanks for that. It is good to hear a Positive post-op story. I am a firm believer in the power of paracetamol and walking (guess my usual running will be out of the question for a few weeks :-) I agree we are all different and that for me is the tricky bit, I just don't know how it will be/I will be. Will just need to take it as it comes. Good luck with the rest of your treatment xx

  • Hello!

    You are very brave to elect for the surgery. Have you tested positive for BRCA?

    It will not be as bad as they have told you and it does not sound very responsible of them to have told you that! I had the op (although for OC) 1.5 years ago. It is a big operation but your body will heal so fast after the operation I promise. I was amazed. The main thing to contend with is a surgical menopause afterwards. This is not much fun but if they can give you hrt then you might be fine! I could not take any hrt because of the hormone risk so had to put up with the symptoms. I also went straight on to chemo straight afterwards so again, that brought other joys but you will not need to worry about that. If you do the op, just make sure you rest enough afterwards, and have help at home and do not lift anything heavy for a while, as this will do more damage.

    Can they do it via keyhole too?

    All the best and lots of love,

    Nicky xx

  • Thanks Nicky, no genetic test because BRCA is not the genetic problem that has been identified in my family. They do not know yet what the genetic problem is but my mother, aunts, grandmother, great aunts and possibly great grandmother have all suffered from some sort of breast/ovarian/womb related cancer ( some medical details are sketchy because of limited detail in medical records). That is why I going for the op, based on family history rather than hard genetic evidence.

    Thanks for you advice re. Op/post op. Should be keyhole. Yep, sounds like the surgical menopause will be the interesting bit!

    Thanks again

    MB xx

  • Hi there, so you do NOT currently have cancer? If that's the case you'll be surprised at how quickly you heal. You're probably NOT having an open total abdominal hysterectomy, more likely a robotic keyhole surgery. Healing time for robotic is much, much faster. Please research the coil and the HRT before using either. You may be better off without them. Remember, menopause is NOT a medical problem. It is natural. If this surgery causes early menopause for you, PLEASE RESEARCH symptom relief for yourself. Medications that have been invented, (think HRT) productized and marketed for the "medicalization" of menopause can become a root cause (like cancer) for other problems down the road. Tesla

  • Thanks for your advice, good to have your perspective. Logic has flown out the window for me in the last few weeks, thus the reason for my post. Thanks for the tips re. HRT etc

    MB x

  • MB, fear makes people irrational. Just remember to keep breathing and take your time. Do not RUSH into any decisions. Like, I could still get hit by a bus tonight, so all that worrying doesn't increase one's odds for longevity! Tesla

  • Agree re irrationality. Have been feeling very anxious and I am going to investigate meditation/breathing exercises.



  • Oh gawd, 'health professionals'! What are they like?? Dear MB14, please don't panic. You sound like a pretty positive, otherwise healthy person and, although it's true we're all different, I was 67 when I had my op and was walking a couple of miles a day after three weeks. It was hard to remember not to lift anything heavy because I felt so well. Obviously I didn't have to have HRT (!), but I'm sure other people will have some advice about that. Best of luck and I hope all goes well - do let us know. Deb xx

  • Thanks, glad I posted because the advice I am getting here has already been so much more informative than from medics. Don't have many female family members to ask advice from and the men have not been that useful!!!

    Thanks again

    MB x

  • MB14 I agree with the other ladies that it is not too bad. I was also walking very soon after (also had op due OC so big cut and long surgery), careful not to overdo it but to keep my mind and body in a good place. Think you are already half way there and wish you the very best for your op and recovery .Take care and no running for a while !!! ;-) x

  • Thanks, seems that walking good, running and lifting not good! Agree re. Keeping mind and body in good place. Some good weather may aid this and the cat will be happy to have company at home during the day for a change!

    Thanks again

    MB x

  • Hi I had the same op a year ago for the same reasons.Recovery from the operations wasn't too bad to be honest.I tried with no Hrt for 4 months and can honestly say it was terrible! Surgical menopause is no joke.I tried every natural alternative but unfortunately they didn't help.Hrt was like a miracle and within 3 weeks I felt back to normal,I too am now having the coil fitted & taking estrogen seperately as my consultant has advised me this is the safest way to take Hrt.

    Good luck I hope it all goes well for you.

  • Thanks Wendy, I have been considering not taking anything and adopting a wait and see approach re medical menopause but what you are telling me supports what The medics are saying and information that I've read.

    Did you try the ladycare magnet? That is the latest thing that has been recommended to me. Yep, the coil and oestrogen gel have been recommended to me by a range of medics As the best options too.

    I hope that it goes well for you too and please can you keep in touch re how the HRT is going?


    MB x

  • Hi I did try the lady magnet, accupunture and a homeopath and changing my diet but nothing seem to help enough. The hot sweats were almost constant but the anxiety and depression left me unable to work and barely function.To be honest I had really hoped not to take Hrt but I now know it's not an option for me for the time being. I have my coil fitted on Monday, up until now I have taken tablets which have helped to get rid of all the symptoms apart from the odd night sweat so feeling confident that the coil plus estrogen will be the same.

    I will let you know how I get on as I don't know anyone who is using this method so think we are probably lucky our consultant have knowledge on HRT and know this is the safest way to take it.

    Take care

  • Hi Wendy, sounds like you had 'full on' symptoms after your op. Thanks for your honesty in sharing your symptoms.

    Hope that your new treatment duo helps.

    Take care too

    MB xx

  • I had this same BSO op under keyhole at age 42 and for me I haven't had any problems apart from quite vague symptoms e.g mild vaginal dryness and I do get more tired and I think I get a bit more befuddled (apparently cognitive processes can be affected - I take part in a yearly online research questionnaire to see how my brain processes stuff following surgical menopause e.g "does this face look happy or sad?"!) but these are things that can be dealt with. I was also given worse case scenario re menopause by the consultant but it didn't materialise though I could've done with advice about preventing heart disease and osteoporosis which I have researched myself. However I know everyone responds differently but I have felt empowered in looking after my health whereas beforehand I would've taken it all for granted and not looked after myself in the way I do now. Hope it all goes well for you.

  • Hi Christine,

    Thanks for your reply. Agree that we are all different and no one knows exactly what symptoms I will have/how severe they will be/ how I will cope with them.

    Agree re importance of looking after your own health. Part of the reason I am having the op in the first place. Feel empowered that I can do something and have an option that was not available to my mum.

    Thanks again


  • Hi MB

    I hope it all goes well for you. I think my ovaries had stopped functioning very well before I had the BSO as periods became very scanty So I may have been in perimenopause anyway. The histology on my ovaries showed early cancerous changes so I was glad I got them out. I had peritoneal washing too and when they do histology they should slice through the ovaries to check them well, but you may know this already. I often think it's only because my own dear sister had ovarian cancer that I had the chance to avoid it as we found we carry the BRCA mutation but she never had the chance to do anything about it though she was an absolute star through it all. I have to consider mastectomy now but am on Raloxifene to reduce bone loss, also can reduce breast cancer risk so am doing that for time being. Very best wishes. Christine

  • Hi Christine,

    Apologies for taking time to reply. Had a few quiet days away in the Highlands with my husband. Yes, I know what you mean that sadly, it is only because of what happens to other family members that we are in a position to do something. Re. Breast cancer, I have been receiving annual screening as part of a familial breast cancer screening programme for the last 12 years. Was surprised that HRT would be made available to me but seemingly it is until the age of natural menopause (approx. 51). In two minds about taking it at all. Am going to make some calls this week to talk about other options. Going away has cleared my mind a bit!

    Best wishes to you too!

    MB x

  • Hi MB

    I'm Sorry for not replying earlier, I was away on holiday in Israel (lovely and warm) but thanks for letting me know about your annual breast screening. Most people seem to have the bilateral mastectomy and I was booked to have it though wasn't fully happy with it for various reasons so it's good to hear the other side of it. I am continuing with annual screening at present. The gynaecologist told me to see how I felt a few months after BSO to see if I needed HRT and there are forms that are suitable. Also the NICE guidelines state women with higher risk can take some forms of it. I hope you get good advice and it goes well for you. Christine

  • Hi Christine,

    Your holiday sounds wonderful. I am in bed recovering from my BSO. I got home yesterday. It wasn't as bad as I thought, the biggest challenge for me was coming round from the anaesthetic. Had to spend the night in hospital because I just couldn't stay awake! Feel tired and a bit uncomfortable but relieved that those 'pesky bits' have been removed. I am also going to wait to see how I feel before starting HRT etc but you are right that there are forms we can take if required. As you have said it is getting good advice and factual information that is important. Now I just have to wait and see how my body reacts to the op and for the post-op lab results

    Hope that all goes well for you too!


  • Hi MB, well done on getting it done, at least you know now you have done what you can to avoid ovarian cancer. I also almost had to stay in overnight as I was so sleepy but I pushed myself out of bed but slept for 18 hours when I got home! The worst bit was trapped wind, it was really painful for a couple of days and I was glad when that went. I had the op over 4years ago and I've just turned 47 and I forget I had it done although I am aware re risk of osteoporosisas I already have slight thinning. My GP sent me for DEXA scan soon after the BSO which was good of her so am just trying to prevent any problems with that. Hope you don't have too many or any unwanted effects but well done, it's so hard to make the decision but as you know OC is difficult to detect early so you did the right thing. I hope everything goes well for you x

  • Hi MB14 I'm waiting for my gynaecology referral to have those bits removed. My daughter had a germ cell tumour at 22 and my sister has recently been diagnosed with OC. We are waiting for the BRCA results but either way I have 2 first line relatives who have had OC so I'm having the op regardless.

  • Hi, a good move to have the op. Genetic testing no use to my family and no reliable screening programme yet so op the best option. Agree that when you start to see a pattern within your family then the op a good move.

    Good luck to you and your family!

    MB x

  • Hi, you haven't said how old you are or if you have already gone through the menopause. All I can add is a surgically induced menopause appears to be worse than a natural one as there ius no gradual build up of symptoms. Good luck with your surgery. Ann

  • Hi Ann,

    I am 46 and have not gone through the menopause. However I appreciate that I am naturally moving towards that part of life where I will become peri menopausal/menopausal. MY mum and aunts were all diagnosed with ovarian/breast cancer between the ages of 50 and 52 so I felt that having the oopherectomy was a good thing to do sooner rather than later.

    Yep, sounds like for some surgical menopause can be dramatic because it is brought on instantly. Will have to wait and see how it affects me.



  • With such a strong family history, I think you're doing the right thing. xx

  • Hi MB14- I echo the sentiments of the other ladies here. Preventative surgery is what I would opt for in your situation. It sounds like you are in good physical shape which will speed up your healing time immensely. I was is really good shape and had OC, no symptoms except for a growing mass in pelvic region. I had the full abdominal cut, a proper gutting followed by chemo. I healed pretty fast considering what was done to me. TAH, fallopian tubes, omentum and appendix removed along with a 21 cm tumor and some lymph nodes. I was up and walking the night of surgery. I was already in menopause so cannot comment of the hormonal issue.

    Please keep us posted on your progress. They will biopsy what they take out. Best of luck to you. You will be fine.

    Xx Carol

  • Thanks Carol for sharing your experiences,

    Though nervous about my op I am also relieved to lose the bits that have caused lots of problems within my family! At 46, I don't need them.

    The human body is extraordinary, walking so quickly after such a bit op is incredible. Hoping the fact that I am reasonably fit will help me too!

    Thanks again, the comments and advice that I have received from all the replies has been so helpful.

    MB x

  • It sounds as if you are fit which will really help your recovery. I'm 67 so can't help with the sudden menopause but I recovered very quickly from the surgery. No heavy lifting, but the biggest drawback for me was being unable to drive. Four weeks I think it was until I could comfortably wear a seat belt and do an emergency stop.

    You've obviously thought long and hard about the op and it seems to me you're doing the right thing, given your family history.

  • Thanks. I have been thinking about it for a while, relieved in many ways that it is now happening. I was wondering about driving . It was on my list of questions to ask at my pre-op session next week.

    Thanks again

    MB x

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