Hysterectomy without ovarian removal may lead to long-term health risks: Study

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Jan. 3, 2018 at 12:44 PM
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Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Women who have hysterectomies without removal of ovaries face increased risk for cardiovascular diseases and metabolic issues, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic report in the study, published in the journal Menopause, that women could be at greater risk for high blood pressure, lipid abnormalities, obesity, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease later in life after the surgery.

"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," Dr. Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, Mayo Clinic OB-GYN and lead author of the study, said in a press release. "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 analyzed data collected as part of the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a database of local patients and former patients. They identified 2,094 women who, between 1980 and 2002, had hysterectomies but not an ovarian removal, known as ovarian conservation.

The data suggests that hysterectomy with ovarian conservation may lead to increased risk for high blood pressure, lipid abnormalities, obesity, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. In those surveyed under 35 at the time of surgery, data show a 4.6-fold increase risk of congestive heart failure and a 2.5-fold increased risk of coronary artery disease.

The results suggest that even with ovarian conservation hysterectomy is associated with an increased long-term risk of cardiovascular and metabolic conditions, especially in women who undergo the operation at age 35 or younger.

"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," Laughlin-Tommaso said. "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."

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