Heart Disease

Lifestyle changes could lower risk of chronic disease despite early removal of ovaries

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I recently read about a study that showed women should not have their ovaries removed before menopause because of the increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and depression. I had my ovaries removed at age 44 when I had a hysterectomy and am now 55. Are there things I can do to prevent the other conditions mentioned in the study?

ANSWER: For women who have their ovaries removed before 45 and before they reach menopause naturally (usually around 51 in the U.S.), menopausal hormone therapy, or MHT, often is recommended to prevent the negative effects of early estrogen loss.

At 55, though, MHT likely would not be...