Depression, anxiety risks rise after hysterectomy, study says

"Our study shows that removing the uterus may have more effect on physical and mental health than previously thought," said researcher Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso.

By Tauren Dyson

Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Hysterectomies raise the risk of developing mental health disorders, new research shows.

All women have a 6.6 percent elevated risk for depression and a nearly 5 percent likelihood for anxiety when they had their uteruses removed, according to a cohort study published in Menopause. For women between ages 18 and 35, that risk shoots up to 12 percent.


"Our study shows that removing the uterus may have more effect on physical and mental health than previously thought," Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, a researcher at Mayo Clinic and study senior author, said in a news release. "Because women often get a hysterectomy at a young age, knowing the risks associated with the procedure even years later is important."

The study was designed to explore the impact of new hysterectomies on women with new diagnoses of depression, anxiety, dementia, substance abuse and schizophrenia.

For their work, the researchers looked at health data between 1980 and 2002 from the Rochester Epidemiology Project for nearly 2,100 women. They say the heightened risk for psychological disorders should lead health professionals to consider alternative treatments to hysterectomies.

Another study pulled in data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project for more than 1,600 women who had both ovaries removed with no sign of malignancies prior to the procedure. These removals were cautionary procedures to prevent or lessen the risk for ovarian cancer.


The research revealed these women had twice the risk of having already been diagnosed with multiple mental disorders.

The researchers have pointed to multiple psychological disorders linked to hysterectomies.

"We can say that psychological conditions may have played an important role in the decision to perform hysterectomy, with or without removal of the ovaries," said Walter Rocca, a Mayo Clinic neurologist and epidemiologist. "Understanding the psychiatric conditions that may have influenced the past practice of hysterectomy is important for developing more conservative strategies in the future."

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