ROCHESTER, Minn. - New research from Mayo Clinic could help women decide whether or not they want to undergo a hysterectomy.
A hysterectomy is the removal of a uterus, and the second-most common surgery among women.
Many studies show that when you also remove ovaries during a hysterectomy, it can cause long-term health risks like cardiovascular disease.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic wanted to see what would happen when women have hysterectomies without taking out their ovaries. They still found an increase in cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, author of the study and an OB-GYN at Mayo Clinic, said they were able to study local women in Olmsted County as part of the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP).
She said her team was able to follow the women for more than a decade, which made their research even more accurate.
"Most hysterectomies occur before menopause and cardiovascular disease doesn't really start to occur until years later," Laughlin-Tommaso said. "So the advantage of the REP was that we were able to follow these women for over 20 years on average and we really could see the accumulation of that disease where as if you only study them for less than 10 years, you may not see that."
Laughlin-Tommaso said she hopes the research will give women the support to ask questions and look for other alternatives to hysterectomies.
If you're seeking an alternative option to a hysterectomy, consult with a doctor before making any major decisions.