Women who have a hysterectomy may be at increased risk for depression and anxiety, a new study reports.
Researchers used medical records of 2,094 women who had had a hysterectomy without removal of the ovaries, matching them with the same number of women of the same age who had not had the operation. None of the surgeries were performed to treat cancer. They followed them for an average of 22 years.
Over all, a hysterectomy was associated with a 26 percent increased relative risk for depression and a 22 percent increased risk for anxiety.
Women under 35 who had a hysterectomy were at a 47 percent increased risk for depression and a 45 percent increased risk for anxiety. The reason for the operation — fibroids, menstrual disorders or uterine prolapse — did not affect the association.
The observational study, in the journal Menopause, controlled
for dementia, substance use disorders, hypertension, coronary artery disease,
arthritis, all types of cancer and more than a dozen other mental and physical
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“Hysterectomy is right for some women,” said the lead author, Dr. Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo Clinic. “But there is this 4 to 6 percent of women who will be affected by depression or anxiety. We’re hoping women will talk with their doctors and see if there’s any alternative they could use instead.”