We hypothesized that genetic influences act on "liability" to hysterectomy, that secular influences might differentially affect relative importance of genetic and environmental influences, and that the sources of genetic influences could be identified from reported risk factors.
Hysterectomy data from an Australia-wide volunteer sample of female adult monozygotic and dizygotic twins are reported. In 1980 through 1982 a mailed questionnaire was completed by 1232 monozygotic female twin pairs and 751 dizygotic female twin pairs (3966 women) from the Australian Twin Register (wave 1). The same twins were surveyed by questionnaire 8 years later (wave 2).
A total of 366 had undergone hysterectomy by wave 1 and a further 198 at wave 2. The twin-pair correlations for liability to hysterectomy at wave 1 (0.61 +/- 0.06 for monozygotic and 0.20 +/- 0.11 for dizygotic) and wave 2 (0.65 +/- 0.05 for monozygotic and 0.32 +/- 0.09 for monozygotic) indicated a substantial genetic contribution. Reported risk factors accounted for only 15% of total variance.
Genetic influences on liability to hysterectomy were substantial and stable across birth cohorts, but the important sources of genetic influence on liability to hysterectomy are yet to be identified.