Uterine fibroids can have a significant impact on the health, workplace performance and quality of life of women—particularly African-American women—according to a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic studied 968 women aged 29 to 59 years with self-reported symptomatic uterine leiomyomas. Five hundred seventy-three of the women were white; 268 were African American; and 127 were of some other race. Participants were assessed by national survey on their diagnosis, information-seeking, attitudes about fertility, impact on work, and treatment preferences. An X2 test was used to compare age groups.
The study authors found that women typically waited an average of 3.6 years before seeking treatment and 41% saw ≥2 health care providers to determine a diagnosis. Nearly a quarter (24%) of the respondents stated that their symptoms kept them from reaching their professional potential and 28% said that they had missed work because of leiomyoma symptoms. When asked about what treatments they wanted for the leiomyomas, 79% of the women indicated that they didn’t want invasive surgery; 51% wanted treatment that preserved the uterus; and 43% of women aged <40 years wanted to preserve their fertility. A majority of the women (60%) said that their preferred treatment choice was focused ultrasound, which requires no incisions and allows most women to return to typical activities within a few days.
The study found that African-American women were more likely to suffer severe symptoms and 32% waited more than 5 years before seeking treatment, while only 17% of white women waited as long. African-American women also expressed greater concern for future fertility and pregnancy, with 71% saying that preservation of the uterus was important, compared with 41% of white women saying the same thing.
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