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Depression, Anxiety Risks Increase After Hysterectomy

September 11, 2019

Hysterectomy is associated with a higher long-term risk of depression and anxiety, according to a study published online in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

“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, MD, an OB-GYN at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Because women often get a hysterectomy at a young age, knowing the risks associated with the procedure even years later is important.”

Researchers looked at health records of nearly 2100 women who underwent hysterectomy without ovary removal between 1980 and 2002. Using data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, investigators zeroed in on new diagnoses of depression and anxiety, as well as dementia, substance abuse, and schizophrenia in the years following hysterectomy.

Hysterectomy Associated With Increased Risk of Bipolar Disorder

They found an absolute risk increase of 6.6% for depression and 4.7% for anxiety over 3 decades after hysterectomy. Women who underwent hysterectomy before age 36, meanwhile, had a 12% absolute risk increase for depression over 30 years, according to the study.

Dr. Laughlin-Tommaso pointed out other treatments are available for benign gynecologic conditions that may help women avoid hysterectomy.

“Those alternatives should be tried before going to hysterectomy,” she said, “especially at a young age.”

—Jolynn Tumolo


Laughlin-Tommaso SK, Satish A, Khan Z, Smith CY, Rocca WA, Stewart EA. Long-term risk of de novo mental health conditions after hysterectomy with ovarian conservation: a cohort study. Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society. 2019 August 30;[Epub ahead of print].

Furst J. Study finds women at greater risk of depression, anxiety after hysterectomy [press release]. Rochester, Minnesota: Mayo Clinic; September 4, 2019.

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