Research proves having a hysterectomy before 35, long thought of as “risk free,” QUADRUPLES a woman’s risk of heart failure and increases risk of obesity
01/09/2018 // Ralph Flores // Views

Studies reveal that a hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the woman's uterus, increased the risk of congestive heart failure by four times and doubles the likelihood of coronary heart disease.

The procedure to excise the uterus is considered a standard procedure for treating certain conditions in the regions such as fibroids and endometriosis. However, there is little research available that looks at the long-term risks of this procedure to human health.

The findings of the cohort study by the Mayo Clinic indicated that operations for conditions before menopause may have severe post-menopausal health risks later in life. Aside from the adverse effect of hysterectomies to the heart, it was also found to increase obesity in women by 18 percent.

"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," explained Dr. Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, the author of the study. "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."

Dr. Tomasso, who is also a professor of gynecology in the center, expressed hope at the results of the findings, saying that these may create the possibility of healthcare professionals to consider non-surgical choices before hysterectomies.

The various long-term risks of undergoing oophorectomy [the removal of the ovaries] are well-known. However, there has been "some thought" on the risks that a hysterectomy could have in a person's health.


With the ideal study populations to determine the risk of the operation in both pre- and post-menopausal women, the study collected information on 2,000 women who had a hysterectomy but kept their ovaries from 1980 to 2002. The women were all from Olmsted County in Minnesota, where the Mayo Clinic is located.

All women were above 18 years old at the time of the operation, and they went with the procedure to treat a benign condition. This data was contrasted with other women who had not undergone a hysterectomy. Pre-existing cardiovascular and metabolic conditions prior their surgery was checked, and the researchers looked for new signs of disease after the operation. The found that there was a link between cardiovascular or metabolic disease and hysterectomies.

"I was surprised at the high risk for women under 35 for coronary artery disease," Dr. Laughlin-Tommaso quipped. "Any time you see an increase in disease risk 20 years after a procedure is surprising, no matter what your expectations were."

Women under the age of 35 who have undergone a hysterectomy without ovary removal had increased their likelihood of a congestive heart failure by 4.6 percent and coronary heart disease by 2.5 percent. The sample discovered that the procedure heightened the risk of obesity by at least 18 percent, coronary artery disease by 33 percent, lipid abnormalities by 14 percent, and high blood pressure by 13 percent.

Researchers suggest looking for alternatives for women with "benign but chronic uterine conditions." These conditions may include endometriosis, the condition where the womb lining grows outside the uterus and attaches itself to different parts of the body, or fibroids, abnormal non-cancerous growth found in the uterus. (Related: TV personality reveals how acupuncture and healthy diet saved her from a hysterectomy, early menopause.)

“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,” concluded 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.”

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