BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  Health
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 23:33 GMT 00:33 UK
Womb ops higher in poorer women
Unnecessary hysterectomies are still taking place
Unnecessary hysterectomies are still taking place
Poor women are more likely to be given a hysterectomy they do not need, according to a new study.

Women from richer backgrounds tend to opt for less drastic treatment.


It will take some time to persuade people that there are alternatives

Dr Mike Maresh, consultant gynaecologist
An Italian survey found that the rate of unneeded surgery was 35% higher in the poorest women.

Researchers think lack of information makes women on low incomes more likely to comply with an offer of hysterectomy.

In Italy, 37 in every 10,000 women have their womb removed because of problems like fibroids and non-cancerous tumours.

The rate, which is similar in the UK, is almost twice that of Scandinavian countries.

The researchers, led by Dr Enrico Materia, are calling for better education about less-invasive alternatives.

'Quick-fix' solution

Doctors in the UK say that some patients, particularly those from less affluent backgrounds, may refuse such options.

Dr Peter Bowen-Simpkins, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, says doctors are often put under pressure to perform unnecessary operations.

"We are desperately trying to get our hysterectomy rates down as fast as we can," he told BBC News Online.

Dr Mike Maresh, a consultant gynaecologist in Manchester, says cultural factors are one of the main reasons for the socio-economic divide.

"It's very much a background cultural thing that some people see it as a quick-fix solution," he told BBC News Online.

"It will take some time to persuade people that there are alternatives."

See also:

20 Mar 02 | Health
Many womb ops 'unnecessary'
25 Feb 00 | Health
Wombs removed 'unnecessarily'
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories