Depression, according to a new study, is not any worse in women who naturally undergo menopause when compared to those who have a hysterctomy.
The study’s lead author, Carolyn Gibson, a researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, states that:
“At least among women in midlife… mood symptoms don’t seem to be a worry to take into consideration when making treatment decisions around hysterectomy and oophorectomy.”
Gibson and her fellow researchers state in the study that there are many past studies who show a link between hysterectomy and a risk for depression.
Gibson asserts, however, that it is hard to tell whether the procedure is to blame, or if these women would still be at risk for depression if they naturally go through menopause. They state that it is also now known whether the symptoms of surgically-induced menopause are any different from natural menopause.
About 6,000 women in the United States have undergo a hysterectomy each year, according to the U.S. CDC. Researchers show that between 55 and 80 percent of these women also have their ovaries removed (called oophorectomy). Whether menopause is natural or surgically-induced, the change in hormone levels leading up to, during, and after menopause cause a range of symptoms, uncluding anxiety, depression, insomnia and hot flashes.
In order to study the changes, Gibson’s team studied 2,000 women who underwent menopause, whether naturally or surgically-induced. Ellen Freeman, a research professor of obstetrics and gynegology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, states that overall, the study showed that depression symptoms in women who underwent a hysterectomy “[declined] in a very similar way as women who had a natural menopause.”