Hysterectomy Linked to Long-Term Health Risks
Women who have hysterectomies, even with ovarian conservation, have a significantly increased risk of several cardiovascular diseases and metabolic conditions, says a Mayo Clinic study.
“This is the best data to date that shows women undergoing hysterectomy have a risk of long-term disease — even when both ovaries are conserved,” says study author Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.
“While women are increasingly aware that removing their ovaries poses health risks, this study suggests hysterectomy alone has risks, especially for women who undergo hysterectomy prior to age 35.”
Researchers studied the medical records of 2,094 female residents of Minnesota’s Olmsted County who had undergone a hysterectomy for a benign condition between 1980 and 2002. All were aged 18 years or older and all had ovarian conservation.
Each woman was age-matched to a woman who lived in the same county who had not had a hysterectomy or any ovarian removal. Cardiovascular and metabolic conditions were determined in all women prior to surgery, and researchers looked for new onset of disease following hysterectomy.
Researchers found that women who had a hysterectomy without any ovary removal had a 14 percent increased risk in lipid abnormalities, a 13 percent increased risk of high blood pressure, an 18 percent increased risk of obesity and a 33 percent increased risk of coronary artery disease. Furthermore, women under the age of 35 had a 4.6-fold increased risk of congestive heart failure and a 2.5-fold increased risk of coronary artery disease.
“Hysterectomy is the second most common gynecologic surgery, and most are done for benign reasons, because most physicians believe that this surgery has minimal long-term risks,” says Dr. Laughlin-Tommaso. “With the results of this study, we encourage people to consider nonsurgical alternative therapies for fibroids, endometriosis and prolapse, which are leading causes of hysterectomy.”
The study is published in Menopause.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 60,000 hysterectomies are performed each year in the United States, and about 20 million American women have undergone the procedure.
In addition to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in women who have their uterus and ovaries removed in their early forties and younger, hysterectomy has also been linked to depression, urinary conditions such as incontinence, and sexual function problems.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P Carrothers