CONTEXT: Hysterectomies are the second most common surgery performed on women in the United States, and most are done for elective reasons. Although women with disabilities appear to have an increased risk of undergoing the procedure, little research has evaluated the relationship between disability and hysterectomy.
METHODS: Data on 42,842 women aged 18 or older from the 2000, 2005 and 2010 National Health Interview Surveys were used to evaluate the relationship between disability and the risk of having a hysterectomy over the life course. Piecewise exponential event history models were estimated to identify associations between timing of disability onset, type of disability, and the occurrence and timing of hysterectomy.
RESULTS: Women with multiple disabilities experienced a higher risk of undergoing a hysterectomy than women with no disability (hazard ratio, 1.3), and this heightened risk was concentrated at younger ages. During their 20s, 30s and early 40s, women who had multiple disabilities were more likely to have had a hysterectomy than were their same-age counterparts with no or one disability (1.3–2.4). Women with a single type of disability, as well as most women who had multiple disabilities and were aged 46 or older, were not at increased risk of having had a hysterectomy.
CONCLUSIONS: Additional research is needed to investigate why young women with multiple disabilities appear to face an increased risk of having a hysterectomy, especially because it is major surgery that can carry significant health risks.
Julia A. Rivera Drew is research associate, Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis.