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Hysterectomy May Boost Incontinence Risk
Date:10/25/2007

When done to treat benign conditions, procedure more than doubled the odds, study found

THURSDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Women who undergo hysterectomies for benign conditions more than double their risk of needing subsequent surgery for stress urinary incontinence, a new study finds.

This was true regardless of what type of surgical technique was used for the hysterectomy, the researchers noted.

The article is published in the Oct. 27 issue of The Lancet, and although the study contradicts previous research, some experts said they are inclined to believe the current study.

"The authors have a lot of experience from previous studies, and they conducted this study using a very tight registry in Sweden. They had the opportunity to analyze the data almost in a unique way," noted Dr. Gil Levy, director of urogynecology at the Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Reconstructive Surgery Center at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City. "When they come up with these results, it should be taken very seriously," he said.

According to background information in the study, many women opt to have a hysterectomy, because it can cure irregular heavy menstrual bleeding, uterine prolapse and postmenopausal bleeding. One in five British women will have undergone a hysterectomy by the time they reach 55. In the United States, 600,000 hysterectomies are performed each year, 90 percent of them for a benign indication (as opposed to cancer).

Studies regarding how a hysterectomy might affect lower-urinary-tract function have been inconsistent, however.

Female stress urinary incontinence is defined as involuntary leakage of urine upon effort or exertion. About 40 percent of women in most industrialized countries have the condition, with considerable effect on daily function as well as sexuality and psychological well-being.

This 30-year study, conducted between 1973 and 2003, involved m
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