These changes, however, were not associated with an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Women who had a hysterectomy with removal of ovaries did tend to gain weight, the researchers found.
These effects were similar in all ethnic groups.
It's not known why these findings differ from other studies. The researchers speculated that differences in their study -- such as excluding women who had a hysterectomy because of cancer and the older age of the women -- may have played a role.
The women in this study were middle-aged and it is possible that women who have a hysterectomy earlier may have more cardiovascular risk, they explained.
One expert agreed that the evidence on a possible association between a hysterectomy and an increased chance of heart trouble has been mixed.
"Prior studies have suggested that there may be increases in cardiovascular risk after women undergo hysterectomy, particularly if accompanied by removal of the ovaries," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
However, other studies have not found elevated risk for cardiovascular events with hysterectomy with or without the removal of the ovaries, he added.
"These findings suggest that hysterectomy with or without removing the ovaries does not appear to play a major role in worsening cardiovascular risk factors in women compared to natural menopause," said Fonarow.
"Nevertheless, as cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in women, women should closely assess, monitor and improve their cardiovascular health," he said.
To learn more about hysterectomy, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Karen Matthews, Ph.D., distinguished professor,
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