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Obesity may up hysterectomy risk

Women who become overweight or obese in their late thirties have a higher risk of hysterectomy than women of normal weight, research shows.

The study from the Medical Research Council (MRC) National Survey studied 1,790 British women from birth until age 57 years.

MRC researcher Rachel Cooper said: "We found that women who were overweight in their 20s or 30s and women who gained more weight than others in midlife were more likely to have a hysterectomy."

However she cautioned: "These findings relate to women born in the early post war period. The relationship between weight and hysterectomy may not be the same among women born more recently.

"Overweight and obesity are now more common and hysterectomy has become less popular with the introduction of alternative treatments for the gynaecological problems that many women experience."

Women who were underweight had lower rates of hysterectomy than those with a higher BMI.

Professor Philip Steer, BJOG editor-in-chief, said: "There are many health difficulties associated with obesity and the MRC 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 MRC study findings are a cause of concern."