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J Reprod Med. 2001 Mar;46(3 Suppl):317-24.

Psychological consequences of surgical menopause.

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Department of Reproductive Science, Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, USA.


More than 250,000 women have a bilateral oophorectomy every year. With surgical menopause, the onset of menopausal symptoms is abrupt and often dramatic. Oophorectomy offers relief from physical conditions for many women; however, those with preexisting psychological and some physical problems tend to experience postsurgical exacerbation of those problems. Loss of estrogenic and androgenic underpinnings may destabilize women with unstable psychiatric axes. Surgically menopausal women may also experience a decline in sexual interest and activity. The relation of surgical menopause to physiologic and sexual well-being is described in this article. The link between hormonal levels and psychological well-being has been well documented. Depression seems to be increased at times of changing hormone levels in women, possibly a result of the effect of estrogen levels on serotonergic activity and its impact on other neurotransmitters. In addition, a sex-specific association with specific psychological disorders has been described in the literature and will be reviewed in this article. The potential benefits of estrogen or estrogen/androgen therapy on libido and mood are discussed, as are findings that estrogen-androgen therapy correlated with less anxiety and hostility and with increased positive feelings when compared with estrogen-only treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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