Sexual Health Q&A

Can ovary removal have effects on sexual health/functioning?

Yes. However, the extent of the effects can depend on whether one or both ovaries are removed.

With one ovary, a woman’s body can still produce estrogen. She will also still have menstrual cycles.

However, if both ovaries are removed, estrogen levels decline dramatically. This is called surgical menopause.

Women who have undergone surgical menopause may become less interested in sex. They may also find that vaginal dryness makes sex uncomfortable. Estrogen is important for vaginal health. It keeps the vagina moist and flexible and helps with lubrication when a woman is sexually aroused. Without estrogen, the vagina can become dry, brittle, and less elastic.

Many women feel anxious and distressed over these sexual changes. Their doctor can help. A vaginal lubricant or moisturizer may relieve some of the physical discomfort. Counseling can be useful, too, as therapists can teach women strategies for coping with some of the psychological issues.