Hysterectomy increases risk of urinary incontinence

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Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, have shown that hysterectomy greatly increases the risk of urinary incontinence, and women who undergo the procedure are more than twice as likely to also undergo surgery for urinary incontinence (The Lancet 2007; 370:1494-9).

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, have shown that hysterectomy greatly increases the risk of urinary incontinence, and women who undergo the procedure are more than twice as likely to also undergo surgery for urinary incontinence (The Lancet 2007; 370:1494-9).

“It’s important that gynecologists take this into account ahead of a hysterectomy, and the patients should themselves be aware of the greater risk the operation entails, particularly if they belong to a high-risk group,” said lead author Daniel Altman, MD.

The highest likelihood of incontinence surgery was noted within 5 years of the hysterectomy (hazard ratio, 2.7), but the higher risk remains throughout the patients’ lives, according to the team. The risk increased most for women who had a hysterectomy before their menopause or after having undergone several deliveries.

The study was based on analyses of patient registers for the years 1973 to 2003, and incorporated more than 165,000 women who have had hysterectomies and almost 479,000 women who have not.

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