Objectives: Bilateral oophorectomy has commonly been performed in conjunction with hysterectomy even in women without a clear ovarian indication; however, oophorectomy may have long-term deleterious consequences. To better understand this surgical practice from the woman's perspective, we studied the possible association of adverse childhood or adult experiences with the subsequent occurrence of bilateral oophorectomy. Design: Population-based case-control study. Setting: Olmsted County, Minnesota (USA). Participants: From an established population-based cohort study, we sampled 128 women who underwent bilateral oophorectomy before age 46 years for a non-cancerous condition in 1988-2007 (cases) and 128 age-matched controls (±1 year). Methods: Information about adverse experiences was abstracted from the medical records dating back to age 15 years or earlier archived in the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) records-linkage system. Adverse childhood experiences were summarised using the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) score. Results: We observed an association of bilateral oophorectomy performed before age 46 years with verbal or emotional abuse, physical abuse, any abuse, substance abuse in the household, and with an ACE score ≥1 experienced before age 19 years (OR=3.23; 95% CI 1.73 to 6.02; p<0.001). In women who underwent the oophorectomy before age 40 years, we also observed a strong association with physical abuse experienced during adulthood (OR=4.33; 95% CI 1.23 to 15.21; p=0.02). Several of the associations were higher in women who underwent oophorectomy at a younger age (<40 years) and in women without an ovarian indication for the surgery. None of the psychosocial or medical variables explored as potential confounders or intervening variables changed the results noticeably. Conclusions: Women who suffered adverse childhood experiences or adult abuse are at increased risk of undergoing bilateral oophorectomy before menopause. We suggest that the association may be explained by a series of biological, emotional, and psychodynamic mechanisms.
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