Every year, some 600,000 women in the United States have hysterectomies (removal of the uterus), usually for benign conditions such as uterine fibroids. Often, the ovaries as well as the uterus are removed during the surgery as a means of preventing ovarian cancer.
A study of post-operative patients has found that women who have their ovaries removed at the time of hysterectomy gain more weight over time, an average of 2/3 of a pound per year more in the succeeding years than women who have had no surgery and reach menopause naturally, or than those who had hysterectomies but retained their ovaries.
The researchers tracked nearly 2,000 women for up to 10 years, beginning when the women were in their 40s or early 50s, and ending when the women reached menopause. They concluded that the accelerated weight gain seen in the women whose ovaries were removed could put them at risk for obesity-related chronic diseases.