Differences in aspects of personality and sexuality between perimenopausal women making different choices regarding prophylactic oophorectomy at elective hysterectomy

Adel Aziz, Christer Bergquist, Mats Brännström, Lena Nordholm, Gunnar Silfverstolpe
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 2005, 84 (9): 854-9

BACKGROUND: Retrospective studies have indicated differences in sexuality and general psychological well-being between women who have undergone hysterectomy only and those undergoing hysterectomy and oophorectomy. These differences may be the result of dissimilarities in the groups of women who choose the respective operation.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the preoperative characteristics of women who choose to undergo prophylactic oophorectomy with the corresponding characteristics of those who choose to retain their ovaries when undergoing hysterectomy on benign indication.

POPULATION: Perimenopausal women (aged 45-55), scheduled for hysterectomy on benign indication, were evaluated within 2 months before surgery. A total of 217 women chose hysterectomy only and 106 women chose hysterectomy with concomitant prophylactic oophorectomy.

METHODS: Socioeconomic and health data, personality (Karolinska Scale of Personality), sexuality (McCoy's Female Sexuality Questionnaire), well-being (Psychological General Well-Being index), the prevalence of climacteric symptoms (modified Kupperman's index) and the women's attitude to hormone replacement therapy were investigated.

RESULTS: Women who later underwent prophylactic oophorectomy in addition to hysterectomy had higher anxiety-related scores, lower sexual variable scores and poorer emotional partner relationships. This group was also characterized by more episodes of irregular bleeding, a greater prevalence of climacteric symptoms and a more extensive use of hormonal replacement therapy, in comparison with women who later underwent hysterectomy only.

CONCLUSION: Personality, sexuality and the nature and severity of preoperative symptoms in women who chose prophylactic oophorectomy differ markedly from the same variables in those who chose to keep their ovaries at elective hysterectomy. These differences must be taken into consideration when evaluating studies comparing these aspects of quality of life after hysterectomy or hysterectomy with concomitant oophorectomy. Furthermore, psychosexual aspects such as sexuality and well-being can not be reliably studied with a retrospective design in these patient groups.

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