June 01, 2020

Hysterectomy associated with anxiety, depression risk

News and our views — Hysterectomy associated with anxiety, depression risk

A hysterectomy — the procedure to remove the uterus — is a very common surgery. It can be performed as a treatment for gynecological cancers, but is also done for noncancerous conditions such as painful fibroids or heavy periods.

Hysterectomies can be performed with or without simultaneously removing the ovaries. Removing both ovaries leads to sudden menopause in women who haven't yet experienced it. Research has shown an association between removing both ovaries and a higher risk of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

However, a recent Mayo Clinic study — published in the January 2020 issue of Menopause — also raises the possibility of mental health risks for women who have a hysterectomies without the removal of the ovaries.

The study compared the health records of about 2,000 women who underwent hysterectomies for a noncancerous condition to women who had not had their uteruses or ovaries removed. The authors wanted to know whether a hysterectomy without ovary removal was associated with a post-surgery diagnosis of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

They found that women were 6.6% more likely to receive a diagnosis of depression and 4.7% more likely to receive a diagnosis of anxiety after hysterectomies than were women in the comparison group over a 30-year period. Having the uterus removed at a younger age — 18 to 35 — was more strongly correlated with depression and anxiety.

Mayo Clinic experts say this raises the possibility that a hysterectomy — without removing the ovaries — is a risk factor...