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Hysterectomy 'increases incontinence risk'

Hysterectomy 'increases incontinence risk'
26th October 2007

Women who have hysterectomies for non-life threatening conditions double their risk of needing stress urinary incontinence surgery (SUIS), according to new research.

These conditions, known as 'benign indications', include uterine prolapse, irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding and postmenopausal bleeding.

Swedish investigators conducted a 30-year study of 165,260 women who had had a hysterectomy, along with a control group of 479,506 who had not.

The risk of undergoing SUIS was 2.7 times higher in the first five years after having a hysterectomy and 2.1 times greater after a decade had passed since the operation.

The authors, led by Dr Daniel Altman of Danderyd University Hospital, wrote in The Lancet:"The most biologically plausible rationale for this association is surgical trauma caused when the uterus and cervix are severed from pelvic-floor supportive tissues at the time of hysterectomy.

"Hysterectomy could interfere with the intricate urethral sphincter might also result in changes of urethral and bladder neck support."

The findings reveal that women who have given birth naturally to more than one child are particularly at risk.

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