Hysterectomy and women’s health in India: Evidence from a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey of older women

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: Hysterectomy, particularly when conducted in women younger than 45 years, has been associated with increased risk of non-communicable diseases. In India, research indicates that hysterectomy is a common procedure for women, but there have been no studies on its long-term effects. We examined patterns of hysterectomy amongst women in India and associations with their health and well-being in later life. Methods: This analysis utilised the first wave of the Longitudinal Study on Aging in India, a nationally representative study of adults that included a module on health and well-being. We analysed data on 35,083 women ≥45 years in India. We estimated prevalence of hysterectomy and performed multivariable logistic regression to identify associated risk factors and to examine the association between hysterectomy status and eight self-reported chronic conditions, hospitalisation and mobility. Results: The prevalence of hysterectomy among women >=45 years was 11.4 (95% CI: 10.3, 12.6), with higher odds among urban women (aOR: 1.39; 1.17,1.64) and higher economic status (highest compared to lowest quintile: aOR: 1.95; 1.44, 2.63). Hysterectomy history was associated with four chronic conditions: hypertension (aOR: 1.51; 95% CI: 1.28, 1.79), high cholesterol (aOR: 1.43; 1.04, 1.97), diabetes (aOR: 1.69; 1.28, 2.24), and bone/joint disease (aOR: 1.54; 1.20, 1.97) and higher odds of any hospitalisation in the past year (aOR: 1.69; 1.36, 2.09). Conclusions: In India, evidence suggests that hysterectomy is associated with major chronic conditions. The assessment for hysterectomy as a treatment option for gynaecological morbidity should consider potential health consequences in later life.