Harvard Heart Letter

Hysterectomy linked to increase in heart disease

A sudden and dramatic reduction in female hormones after the procedure may explain why.

An astounding one in three American women has a hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus) before age 60. Only a small percentage undergo the operation to fight uterine cancer or other life-threatening conditions. Most have a hysterectomy to halt heavy menstrual bleeding, combat endometriosis, or stop pelvic pain.

Emerging evidence linking hysterectomy to increased risk of cardiovascular disease should prompt a rethinking of the operation's balance of benefits and risks, especially among younger women and those who have their ovaries removed as part of a hysterectomy.

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