As I was glancing through the monthly Journal Menopause I came upon an interesting article that had cosmetic implications. The authors looked at the potential adverse skin effects subsequent to the removal of the ovaries during hysterectomy in premenopausal women who had surgery for benign conditions.
The study included 135 premenopausal women between 40 and 50 years of age who underwent hysterectomy for fibroids, bleeding or prolapse with removal of their ovaries compared to a similar control group of women who underwent hysterectomy alone. Estrogen was not prescribed for any of these women. The researchers used something called a Skindex
– 29 score to assess the women’s skin changes 24 and 48 weeks after the surgery.
Unfortunately, all the skin parameters in both groups worsened by weeks 24 and 48. But laxity/ sagging and texture/dryness scores were significantly worse in the group that had their ovaries removed and continued to worsen between 24 and 48 weeks. The authors’ conclusion was that prophylactically removing the ovaries during a hysterectomy in women under 50 who have no cancer is a significant independent risk factor for aging of the skin.
The study also accessed emotional well-being of the two groups of women and found that prophylactic ovary removal was associated with reduced quality of life.
For most of the women that I treat that have not had cancer, but either went through an early menopause (before the age of 50) or had surgery that removed their ovaries before that age, I suggest estrogen therapy. It not only helps their vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats) but has been shown to reduce early onset of coronary vascular disease and osteoporosis. This study as well as others have demonstrated that estrogen therapy also helps prevent rapid aging of skin. For many of us, the latter is important! I get it…