Hormone replacement therapy in young women with surgical primary ovarian insufficiency

For young women undergoing bilateral oophorectomy, estrogen therapy effectively controls symptoms, lessens risk of disease, and reduces mortality. Disturbingly, many women go untreated due to inappropriate fears regarding estrogen use.

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Volume 106, Issue 7, Pages 1580-1587


Philip M. Sarrel, M.D., Shannon D. Sullivan, M.D., Ph.D., Lawrence M. Nelson, M.D.


Bilateral oophorectomy performed in women before they are menopausal induces surgical primary ovarian insufficiency, an acute and chronic deficiency of the hormones normally produced by the ovaries. Without hormone replacement therapy (HRT) most of these women develop severe symptoms of estrogen (E) deficiency and are at increased risk for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, dementia, and the associated increases in morbidity and mortality. In cases in which a hysterectomy has been performed at the time of bilateral oophorectomy transdermal or transvaginal E2 replacement therapy without cyclic progestin replacement is the optimum hormonal management for these women. There is substantial evidence this approach even reduces the risk for breast cancer. Unfortunately, unwarranted fear of all menopausal HRTs has become widespread following the reports of the Women's Health Initiative studies. This fear has led to a steep decline in use of E therapy, even in women in whom HRT is clearly indicated. Discussion of possible ovarian conservation in women who are premenopausal is an integral part of the preoperative planning for any women undergoing hysterectomy. Timely and effective HRT for women who will experience surgical primary ovarian insufficiency is clearly indicated.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility┬« is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.