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.