Around 20 per cent of women who have a hysterectomy shouldn't have the procedure. Less drastic alternatives aren't being considered, and doctors are ignoring treatment guidelines, a damning new report has found.
It's an inappropriate procedure for abnormal uterine bleeding, uterine fibroids, endometriosis or pelvic pain, researchers from the University of Michigan state.
Around one in three women in the US will have had a hysterectomy by the time they reach the age of 60, but 20 per cent were unnecessary, and the figure nearly doubled to 38 per cent-or two in five procedures-among women who are under the age of 40.
More than 400,000 hysterectomies are performed in the US every year. Although the rate of procedures has fallen by 36 per cent between 2002 and 2010, the researchers estimate that up to 80,000 of them should never have been carried out.
They based their findings on a snapshot of 3,400 procedures carried out in Michigan.
(Source: American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 2015; January)