The burden of uterine fibroids in five European countries

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010 Sep;152(1):96-102. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2010.05.012. Epub 2010 Jul 3.


Objective: To quantify the burden of uterine fibroids (UF) on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and work productivity in a general population of women.

Study design: Women diagnosed with or experiencing UF-related symptoms living in five Western European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom) were identified through a cross-sectional Internet-based survey. The following parameters and outcomes of interest were captured and analysed: patient history and demographics, treatment and diagnosis patterns, symptom severity and HRQOL, work productivity and activity impairment, and disease or symptom-related health care resource use for the past year (e.g., provider visits, hospitalisation).

Results: This analysis included 1756 women (France, 358; Germany, 345; Italy, 351; Spain, 352; United Kingdom, 350). Prevalence of a diagnosis of UF ranged from 11.7% to 23.6%, and that of undiagnosed bleeding symptoms from 14.7% to 24.6% across the five countries. Between 9.0% and 32.5% of women waited > or =5 years before seeking treatment for UF. Mean UFS-QOL symptom severity scores ranged from 24.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 21.1-28.3) to 37.6 (95% CI, 32.2-43.0; P<0.001), suggesting mild to moderate severity. Mean UFS-QOL scores ranged from 59.2 (95% CI, 54.2-64.2) to 69.7 (95% CI, 66.5-73.0; P=0.002), suggesting moderate impairment. In pooled analyses, absenteeism was reported by 32.7% of employed women with a diagnosis of UF. Overall worker productivity was reduced by 36.1% and general activity was impaired by 37.9%.

Conclusions: UF are common in women residing in Western Europe. They are associated with impairment of HRQOL and productivity. A substantial number of women delay seeking medical help. Encouraging symptomatic women to seek help and treatment earlier may benefit women by improving their HRQOL and may also benefit society through enhanced worker productivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Efficiency
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leiomyoma / drug therapy
  • Leiomyoma / pathology*
  • Leiomyoma / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Burden*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / psychology*