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July 2018

Having a Hysterectomy May Increase Heart Disease Risk 

Hysterectomy—removal of the uterus—is a common procedure; more than 400,000 women in the United States have one each year. Studies have shown that removing the ovaries during hysterectomy increases a woman’s risk for heart disease and other health problems. Now, a study published in the journal Menopause has found that women may face health risks even if they keep their ovaries. 

Older woman talking with her doctor

The study looked at the health records of more than 2,000 women who had a hysterectomy between 1980 and 2002. None of the women had their ovaries removed. Their records were compared with a control group of women who hadn’t had a hysterectomy. 

Increased risk for heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure

Compared with the women who didn’t have the procedure, those who had a hysterectomy had a 33% higher risk for heart disease, an 18% greater risk for obesity, a 14% higher risk for high cholesterol or triglycerides, and a 13% higher risk for high blood pressure. 

Women who were age 35 or younger at the time of the hysterectomy faced even higher risks. They were 2.5 times more likely to have heart disease and 4.6 times more likely to have congestive heart failure.

Learn other ways to protect your heart 

All women can reduce their risk for heart disease by following these tips: 

  • Don’t smoke

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet that limits saturated fats, trans fat, salt, and sugar

  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week

  • Find healthy ways to deal with stress

  • Limit alcohol use

 

For more information

The American Heart Association has more information about heart health for women.

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