Women who have a hysterectomy are at an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions contributing to heart disease, according to new research. Dr. Erin Michos explains the connections.
Hi, I'm Doctor Aaron Mikos. I'm the Director of Women's Cardiovascular Health at Johns Hopkins University. And at this upcoming American Heart Association scientific sessions, our team presents our research led by postdoctoral fellow, Doctor Eric Brony about the association between hysterectomy and metabolic syndrome. The me metabolic syndrome is strongly associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk. It's a constellation of having elevated blood pressure and adverse lipid profile, elevated blood glucose and elevated waist circumference. Now, we know that women who have their ovaries removed, oophorectomy before menopause age will go into early surgical menopause. And we know that's associated with cardiovascular risk, but less is known about. Is there any cardiovascular risk if you have a hysterectomy alone? But over sparing. So we investigated this question in the multi ethic study of atherosclerosis. Over 3000 women who reported on whether they had a hysterectomy with or without their ovaries removed and were followed for 10 years. Now, compared to women who did not have surgery, who didn't have a hysterectomy or oophorectomy women who had a hysterectomy alone, but ovary sparing, they still had a 50% increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome over the next 10 years compared to women who didn't need surgery. Now, the reasons for this are not clear, we know that um there, there are surgical reasons for needing a hysterectomy often include dysfunctional uterine bleeding fibroids, uterine cancer. So some of those same risk factors for needing a hysterectomy may also be risk factors for cardiovascular disease. But there's also some biological plausibility to this link. It's thought that, you know, in animal models, if you remove the uterus and rabbits, those animals do go through early ov uh early menopause. So it's thought that removing the uterus may impair ovarian health. And indeed, when you remove the uterus, there can be some decreased blood flow to the ovaries. So I think our maintain come point is no, there's certainly women who need a hysterectomy for a medical cause certainly should have one. But to note that we did find this associates with increased cardiovascular risk. And so women who've had a hysterectomy should make sure that their cardiovascular health is optimized by getting their blood pressure checked, their lipid checked their glucose checked, optimizing a healthy lifestyle to minimize their risk of, of developing the metabolic syndrome and ultimately cardiovascular disease. Thank you.