Study finds women at greater risk of depression, anxiety after hysterectomy

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Hysterectomy is associated with an increased risk of long-term mental health issues, especially depression and anxiety, according to a cohort study by Mayo Clinic researchers involving nearly 2,100 women.

The review of health records from 1980 to 2002 involved women who underwent removal of the uterus but not the ovaries. The study, which used data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, considered only new diagnoses of depression, anxiety, dementia, and schizophrenia after hysterectomy, and excluded women with prior diagnoses.

Researchers found an absolute risk increase of 6.6% for depression and 4.7% for anxiety over 30 years, says senior author Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D., a Mayo Clinic OB-GYN. For women who underwent hysterectomy between the ages of 18 and 35, the risk of depression was higher, with absolute risk increase over 30 years of 12%.

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

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