Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to require a hysterectomy than people with a normal body mass index (BMI), new research suggests.
Scientists found women who are overweight at the age of 36 have higher rates of hysterectomies than people of average weight, while obese women also have an increased risk from the age of 43.
The study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, also found women who experience large gains in weight between 36 and 53 also have a greater chance of needing a hysterectomy in later life.
The journal's editor in chief, Professor Philip Steer, said: "There are many health difficulties associated with obesity and the study shows that, particularly after the age of 36, being overweight or obese can be linked to hysterectomy in later life.
"There are risks associated with hysterectomy and these are heightened if the patient is obese.
"With a growing prevalence of obesity in the community, the study findings are a cause of concern."
But Dr Rachel Cooper from the research team said the findings do not prove that body fat definitely causes the need for a hysterectomy.
"It might not be that their weight is causing the gynaecological problems," she said.