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Women Talk About Hysterectomy The Facts About Hysterectomy In The United States

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Updated December 27, 2003

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 600, 000 women undergo hysterectomy in the United States each year. The estimated annual cost of these procedures is over $5 billion. Hysterectomy is the second most common surgical procedure among women of reproductive age and will affect more than a quarter of all U.S. women by the time they reach the age of sixty.

Does Age Play A Role In Hysterectomy?

The CDC estimates that 8.6 million U.S. women had hysterectomies between 1980 and 1993. Women at highest risk of undergoing hysterectomy are those between age 40 and 45, while the lowest risk is among women aged 15 to 24. Fifty-five percent of the hysterectomies performed during these years were on women between the ages of 35 and 49.

Does Where I Live Make A Difference?

Women living in the South experienced the highest rate of hysterectomy, followed by those living in the Midwest, and those living in the West the lowest with a rate about two-thirds that of Southern women. Southern women are also more likely to be younger when they have a hysterectomy with the average age being 41.6, while women in the Northeast were the oldest with an average age of 47.7 when they underwent uterine removal.

Why Do Women Have Hysterectomies?

The three most common conditions associated with hysterectomy are fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and uterine prolapse. Women aged 30 to 34 underwent hysterectomy most often due to endometriosis, while the most common reason among women aged 35 to 54 is fibroid tumors. In women age 55 and older, uterine prolapse and cancer are the most common reasons for hysterectomy. Cervical dysplasia and menstrual disturbances are the most common reasons for hysterectomy in women under thirty. Race does not appear to be a factor in the incidence of hysterectomy.

Will Insurance Cover My Hysterectomy?

Most insurance companies consider hysterectomy elective surgery unless it is performed for cancer or hemorrhaging. Because it's considered elective and because of the large number of unnecessary hysterectomies, insurance companies often deny initial requests for authorization for hysterectomy-- your doctor may have to appeal their decision before you receive approval. It's important to understand the alternatives available to treat your condition before you agree to hysterectomy unless it is for these non-elective reasons.

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