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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prevalence, symptoms and management of uterine fibroids: an international internet-based survey of 21,746 women

Anne Zimmermann1*, David Bernuit2, Christoph Gerlinger2, Matthias Schaefers2 and Katharina Geppert2

Author Affiliations

1 Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin School of Public Health, Seestraße 73, Berlin 13347, Germany

2 Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Berlin 13342, Germany

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BMC Women's Health 2012, 12:6  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-12-6

Published: 26 March 2012

Abstract

Background

In 2009 the Uterine Bleeding and Pain Women's Research Study (UBP-WRS) was conducted interviewing 21,479 women across 8 countries in order to gain patient-based prevalence data on uterine pain and bleeding indications and investigate uterine symptoms and women's treatment experiences. This article shows relevant results of the study for the indication uterine fibroids providing data on self-reported prevalence, symptomatology and management of uterine fibroids.

Methods

2,500 women (USA: 4,500 women) in each country (Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, the UK, the USA) completed an online survey. Women included were in their reproductive age (age group 15-49 years; USA: 18-49 years) and had ever experienced menstrual bleedings. Quotas were applied for age, region, level of education and household income of respondents. Variables have been analyzed descriptively and exploratory statistical tests have been performed.

Results

The self-reported prevalence of uterine fibroids ranged from 4.5% (UK) to 9.8% (Italy), reaching 9.4% (UK) to 17.8% (Italy) in the age group of 40-49 years. Women with a diagnosis of uterine fibroids reported significantly more often about bleeding symptoms than women without a diagnosis: heavy bleedings (59.8% vs. 37.4%), prolonged bleedings (37.3% vs. 15.6%), bleeding between periods (33.3% vs. 13.5%), frequent periods (28.4% vs. 15.2%), irregular and predictable periods (36.3% vs. 23.9%). Furthermore women with diagnosed uterine fibroids reported significantly more often about the following pain symptoms: pressure on the bladder (32.6% vs. 15.0%), chronic pelvic pain (14.5% vs. 2.9%), painful sexual intercourse (23.5% vs. 9.1%) and pain occurring mid-cycle, after and during menstrual bleeding (31.3%, 16.7%, 59.7%, vs. 17.1%, 6.4%, 52.0%). 53.7% of women reported that their symptoms had a negative impact on their life in the last 12 month, influencing their sexual life (42.9%), performance at work (27.7%) and relationship & family (27.2%).

Conclusions

Uterine fibroid is a common concern in women at fertile age causing multiple bleeding and pain symptoms which can have a negative impact on different aspects in women's life.