Conization and healthcare use: a population-based register study

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The aim of this study was to assess whether negative psychological consequences of conization reported in questionnaire studies translated into increased use of the healthcare services that could relieve such symptoms. This was a population-based register study comparing women undergoing conization with a control group of women with normal cytology results. Data were derived from Danish registers. Using the difference-in-differences method, we measured contacts with general practitioners (GPs), hospitals, psychiatrist/psychologists, and use of anxiolytic and antidepressant prescription drugs over 5 years ‘before’ and ‘after’ the conization in the study group, and in comparable periods in the control group. During the ‘before’ period, women who later had a conization had greater contact with GPs and hospitals, and slightly more contact with psychiatrist/psychologists, than control women. In both groups, healthcare use increased significantly from the ‘before’ to the ‘after’ period. For contacts with GPs and hospitals, the increase was significantly larger for the conization group than for the control group, but this could be attributed to the standard postconization follow-up process. In the ‘before’ period, women who later had a conization used fewer drugs than women of the control-group, but their drug use increased similarly over time. The conization event did not result in an increased use of the healthcare services that could relieve potential negative side effects. However, women who underwent a conization seemed to constitute a select group as they already used GPs and hospitals more frequently, and anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs less frequently, than other women in the years ‘before’ the conization event.

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