The data on hysterectomies forms part of a section of the study on women’s health with a special focus on reproductive health problems. The findings gain significance given that even though hysterectomy is the second most frequently performed non-obstetric surgery after caesarean in many parts of the world, knowledge around data on this in India has been limited, partly due to lack of information from large-scale national representative surveys.
The study also brings out an important fact that the proportion of women aged 45 and above who had undergone hysterectomy is higher in urban areas (15%) than rural areas (10%), and is found to increase with educational attainment as well as with MPCE (Monthly Per Capita Expenditure) quintile. It turns out that across MPCE quintiles, the percentage of women of 45 years and above who had undergone hysterectomy is more than twice as high in the richest quintile (18%) than the poorest MPCE quintile (8%).
The state and Union Territory data is even more telling as it shows that in Daman & Diu (24%), Andhra Pradesh (23%), and Punjab (21%), at least one in five women aged 45 and above reported having undergone hysterectomy. The proportion of older women who had undergone hysterectomy is lower in the north-eastern states of Assam (3%), Arunachal Pradesh (3%), Nagaland (2%), and Meghalaya (0.9%).
LASI, is cited to be the world’s largest and India’s first nationally representative ongoing (first two waves 2016-2021 and long term goal to continue survey for 25 years) covering health, economic and social determinants and consequences of population ageing in India. LASI Wave-1 (2017-19) covered 72,250 older adults aged 45 and above. The ministry of health and family welfare released the Wave-1 results earlier this month.
Citing various research reports, LASI highlights that since in India, the prevalence of hysterectomy, premature menopause, and cervical cancer is rising, female participants (45-59 years) were asked about their reproductive health conditions, including menstrual, menopausal, or gynaecological health concerns.
During the survey interviews carried out in 2017-18, the study found that about 16% of women (45-59 years) reported having at least one reproductive health problem in the past 12 months. Women (45-59 years) in rural areas (17%) reported higher prevalence of any reproductive health problem than older adult women in urban areas (14%). The data also shows that currently married women (17%) and those living with a spouse and children (17%) have a higher prevalence of any reproductive health problems. It also comes through in the study that despite rise in cancer cases, women getting tested for early detection remains small with just 2% women aged 45 and above reporting to have undergone pap smear test for cervical cancer and just 1.6% underwent mammography to check for breast cancer.