Ovarian suppression

Ovarian suppression


What is ovarian suppression?


Treatment that stops or lowers the amount of estrogen made by the ovaries. Types of ovarian suppression include surgery to remove both ovaries, radiation therapy, and the use of certain drugs. Ovarian suppression may be used to prevent and treat breast cancer. Also called ovarian ablation.i


Ovarian suppression is exactly what it says – it stops the ovaries from operating and producing estrogen, effectively jump-starting menopause. There are a variety of reasons this may be an option for you, which should be discussed with you doctor. It may be that a SERM is not working for you due to side effects or other conditions you may have. It may be that due to genetic testing results, you need to limit estrogen production. It may even be that you have ovarian or uterine issues that need to be addressed. In any case, there are several ways to send your ovaries packing.


You can shut down your ovary production using a medication. This known as a “luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH)”. Common drugs in this class are Lupron and Zolodex. I have never used an LHRH so I cannot really comment on the experience. I did discuss this with my doctor but he suggested that I would suffer through menopausal symptoms with the LHRH same as with an oophorectomy (ovary removal), so he asked if it was worth it to me to put up with the regular shots over just having a one-time surgery. I opted for the oophorectomy. If you are not ready for permanent menopause, you may find the LHRH more appealing. I found this article has a good pro and con of LHRH vs. oophorectomy.




From my experience, surgical removal of my ovaries (I also had them remove fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix) was pretty simple. My pain was limited, and I was back to pretty normal activities within a week. Some women do have complications that make this surgery much more difficult. I joined a support group on Facebook that I found very helpful in understanding what experiences others had in order to have useful conversations with my doctor.


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