Women undergoing Hysterectomy with Bilateral Oophorectomy gain more Weight

Almost 600,000 women undergo hysterectomy in the U.S. every year. While some experts suggest that obese or overweight women are more likely to undergo hysterectomy, others opine that women tend to gain more weight following hysterectomy with or without removal of ovaries. 

To understand the effect of removal of uterus on a woman’s BMI, researchers followed up almost 2000 women across the U.S. All the women participating in the study were in the age group of 40 to 50 years at the start of the study. 1,780 women out of the 1,962 women reached menopause naturally. 76 of them underwent a hysterectomy without the removal of the ovaries, while 106 of them underwent hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy.

The researchers observed that the women who underwent a hysterectomy had a higher BMI at the start of the study compared to women who attained menopause naturally. Most of these women were operated for conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids. While all the women gained weight as they aged, the researchers noticed that the weight gain was maximal in women who underwent a hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy. Compared to this, the women who reached menopause naturally or who underwent a simple hysterectomy while their ovaries were preserved, experienced a lower weight gain. The gain in weight was almost at par in the latter two groups.

While the women who reached menopause naturally or underwent a plain hysterectomy gained about 0.08 BMI points per year after menopause/operation, women undergoing hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy gained an average of 0.21 BMI points each year. This can be attributed to an abrupt fall in the level of circulating hormones following the removal of the ovaries. A gain in weight in the mid-life, following the removal of ovaries, can be associated with many obesity related chronic ailments, whereas preservation of ovaries can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. It is for the surgeon to weigh the pros and cons before deciding about the nature of surgery.

The study was led by Carolyn Gibson, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, and has been published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Obesity. 

 

Date: 
Thursday, October 4, 2012
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