A new study suggests that older women who have both their womb and ovaries removed are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
To investigate the relationship between developing diabetes and the surgical procedure hysterectomy (with and without bilateral oophorectomy), researchers from the University of Louisville in Kentucky analysed data from a cohort of 2,597 postmenopausal women enrolled in a national health and nutrition study.
After following the women for an average of 9.2 years and adjusting for relevant confounders, they found that individuals who had undergone a hysterectomy had a higher risk of developing diabetes, with the risk rising slightly for those who also had a bilateral oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries at the time of hysterectomy, usually to prevent the subsequent development of ovarian cancer).
Incidence of type 2 diabetes was 8.2 per 1,000 person-years for women with hysterectomy alone and 8.5 per 1,000 person years for hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy, compared to 7.4 cases per 1,000 person-years for females with no hysterectomy.
Researchers also reported a significant connection between earlier age menopause and a shorter reproductive life span with diabetes, regardless of the type of menopause.
“Women with hysterectomy concomitant with bilateral oophorectomy may represent a unique population with elevated risk for diabetes and other chronic diseases,” lead investigator Duke Appiah, MD, concluded.
“Therefore, the decision to remove the ovaries at the time of hysterectomy for benign conditions during the premenopausal years should be balanced with the risk of diabetes and its potential complications.”
He added that further studies are needed to clarify the mechanism linking bilateral oophorectomy to diabetes mellitus.

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