While the science behind the reasoning for removing a women's ovaries (oophorectomy, or ovariectomy) is very debatable and the risks, particularly of hormone therapy, are high it is nonetheless a surgery that is performed to around 1/2 million women in the US each year. As more women understand the range of aid that is available through Chinese medicinal herbal formulas and techniques such as acupuncture hopefully the number of women who undergo this surgery will drop. For now, however, we use the tools of Chinese Medicine to help women as much as possible to avoid the risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and side effects of an oophorectomy.
A commonly used Chinese Medicine herbal formula for fertility and hormonal issues, You Gui Wan, was recently studied by a team of researchers at Chengdu University, China. Using animal models, researchers wanted to study the effect of this formula on a side effect of an oophorectomy - vaginal atrophy.
Researchers used 34 rats with their ovaries removed and divided them into 3 treatment groups (1 with the herbal formula you gui wan, one with saline and one with estrogen). Treatment was offered over 11 weeks and then hormone levels and tissue samples of the uterus and vagina were analyzed.
The removal of the ovaries caused atrophy of the uterus and vagina, estrogen was seen to reverse this atrophy but had a side effect of endometrial hyperplasia. The formula You Gui Wan had no effect on the uterus but did significantly reverse the atrophic process within the vagina and increased circulation in the surrounding blood vessels.
Researchers conclude that You Gui Wan can reverse the atrophic effect of an oophorectomy and recommended its use as an alternative to hormonal replacement therapy for management of vaginal atrophy.
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