Association of bilateral oophorectomy and body fatness in a representative sample of US women

Anne Marie McCarthy, Andy Menke, Kala Visvanathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective Preclinical studies suggest that abrupt hormone deprivation caused by oophorectomy, leads to obesity and its metabolic sequelae. The purpose of the current study was to examine the association between oophorectomy and body fatness in a nationally representative sample of women. Methods The association between prior oophorectomy and nine adiposity measures was examined using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-1994). The analytic population included cancer-free women age 40 or older (N = 3549) who underwent standardized body measurements and reported on whether or not they had a bilateral oophorectomy. Multivariate linear and polytomous logistic regressions were used to evaluate the association of oophorectomy with multiple measures of adiposity. Results Mean percent body fat, skinfold thickness, waist circumference and body mass index were significantly higher in women with oophorectomy before age 40 compared to those with intact ovaries, but no difference was observed in women with oophorectomy at an older age. Women who underwent an early oophorectomy were nearly three times more likely than women with intact ovaries to have percent body fat in the highest tertile compared to the lowest tertile (OR = 2.82, 95% CI 1.39-5.75). Excluding hormone therapy (HT) users yielded stronger associations. Conclusion Bilateral oophorectomy in young women is strongly associated with an increase in percent body fat, a well-established risk factor for cancer and other chronic diseases. Measuring body fat in addition to BMI may provide a more comprehensive assessment of adiposity in these women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-564
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • BMI
  • Body fat
  • Oophorectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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