We compared 50 women with somatization disorder to 25 women with major depression. The somatizers had three times as many operations and hospitalizations as the depressed women. Hospitalizations for headache and backache, abdominal and pelvic operations, and radiologic studies for abdominal complaints occurred frequently in the somatizers. Important factors in the excess medical care of these women were the difficulty in diagnosis and the unwillingness of physicians to use the diagnosis of somatization disorder to limit medical care. Even though somatization disorder has been well described in the medical literature for 30 years, somatizers still receive excess medical care.