Uterine fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus that can cause bleeding, pain, bowel or bladder dysfunction, and fatigue. Fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomy, which remains the most common treatment. The health problems associated with fibroids consumes a significant amount of health care resources and costs the United States an estimated $34 billion annually.
To assess the impact of fibroids on women’s health and quality of life, researchers supported by the Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch surveyed nearly 1,000 women in the United States who reported having uterine fibroids.
On average, the women reported having had fibroids for between 6 to 8 years. Many women did not seek treatment right away; only 25% of women sought treatment within the first year of experiencing symptoms. Most women reported that they tried to manage their symptoms themselves before seeking treatment. However, the majority of women with fibroids reported symptoms including backache or leg pains, fatigue, and pelvic pain. Some women also reported that having fibroids interfered with their daily and social activities and affected their relationships with their family. Almost one-third of women with fibroids who were employed reported missing work due to symptoms of fibroids.
Women expressed a strong desire for treatments that did not require hysterectomy, whether or not they intended to have more children (PMID: 23891629).