Preventive ovarian removal was once considered to be life saving but today it is another story. Scientists found that removal of ovaries before the age of 45 could be putting women at risk of an early death.

Around 1.2 million oophorectomies are done each year in the US. The procedure could be unilateral, removing one ovary or bilateral, removing both ovaries. About 300,000 of the surgeries are done in order to prevent future ovarian cancer in women with risk.

A study whose data were used included 1,293 women with unilateral ovariectomy, 1,097 women with bilateral ovariectomy and a group of 2,390 women who had not undergone ovariectomy. All the surgeries were done for reasons other than cancer. The study revealed that women who underwent bilateral ovariectomy before the age of 45 and haven’t undergone hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after the removal had two times bigger risk of dying.

Scientists feel that all of this is because of the estrogen influence on the woman’s body. It is thought that estrogen has a major role in protecting the brain and the cardiovascular system at younger ages but that it may not be as important after the menopause.

The biggest problem with the hormone replacement treatment nowadays, that could be helpful after ovarian removal, is that many women refuse to undergo the treatment due to its link with breast and cervical cancer.