Dr Walter Rocca is a neurologist from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA, where he studies common neurological diseases as well as the aging processes between men and women. He has a particular focus on estrogen and the effects of menopause on health risks.
In this episode, Dr Rocca explains how sex hormones have a much greater role in many of the body’s functions than simply regulating the menstrual cycle and reproduction. He explains why it’s so important to treat women with hormone replacement after bilateral oophorectomy with or without hysterectomy or early menopause, especially younger women.
Dr Rocca’s three take home messages:
- The ovaries are a tremendously important organ for healthy functioning of our heart, brain, bones, kidneys, lungs and more.
- For healthcare professionals: be very careful when thinking about removing the ovaries and/or the uterus, unless there is a very clear clinical indication. The longer-term harmful effects of these surgeries are greater than the apparent short-term benefit to symptoms.
- If a woman has a high genetic risk of ovarian cancer (>40% risk level), removal of the ovaries is appropriate, but she should be given estrogen therapy afterwards as the risk associated with this treatment is very low (including for BRCA carriers). If a natural menopause occurs early or prematurely, these women should also be offered estrogen therapy, unless there is a specific counterindication.
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