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Hysterectomy linked to poorer mental health

Having a hysterectomy increases a woman’s long-term risk of mental health issues, especially depression and anxiety, Mayo Clinic researchers have found.

The study followed the 30-year mental health histories of about 2,100 women who underwent uterine-only hysterectomies from 1980 through 2002. Researchers reported only new diagnoses of depression, anxiety, dementia, substance abuse and schizophrenia recorded after hysterectomy, and did not include women who had previously been diagnosed with these conditions.

Overall, they noted an absolute risk increase of 6.6% for depression and 4.7% for anxiety over 30 years, For women who underwent hysterectomy at younger ages – before they turned 35 – the risk of depression was even higher, with an increase of 12% over the 30-year period.

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

She added that several treatments other than hysterectomy are available for benign gynecological conditions. “Those alternatives should be tried before going to hysterectomy, especially at a young age,” she said.

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