The impact of uterine leiomyomas: a national survey of affected women

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Oct;209(4):319.e1-319.e20. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2013.07.017. Epub 2013 Jul 24.


Objective: We sought to characterize the impact of uterine leiomyomas (fibroids) in a racially diverse sample of women in the United States.

Study design: A total of 968 women (573 white, 268 African American, 127 other races) aged 29-59 years with self-reported symptomatic uterine leiomyomas participated in a national survey. We assessed diagnosis, information seeking, attitudes about fertility, impact on work, and treatment preferences. Frequencies and percentages were summarized. The χ(2) test was used to compare age groups.

Results: Women waited an average of 3.6 years before seeking treatment for leiomyomas, and 41% saw ≥2 health care providers for diagnosis. Almost a third of employed respondents (28%) reported missing work due to leiomyoma symptoms, and 24% believed that their symptoms prevented them from reaching their career potential. Women expressed desire for treatments that do not involve invasive surgery (79%), preserve the uterus (51%), and preserve fertility (43% of women aged <40 years).

Conclusion: Uterine leiomyomas cause significant morbidity. When considering treatment, women are most concerned about surgical options, especially women aged <40 years who want to preserve fertility.

Keywords: hysterectomy; leiomyoma; quality of life; symptoms; uterine fibroids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Black or African American
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / psychology
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / psychology
  • Information Seeking Behavior
  • Leiomyoma / physiopathology
  • Leiomyoma / psychology*
  • Leiomyoma / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Sparing Treatments / psychology
  • Patient Preference
  • Quality of Life
  • Sick Leave
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Uterine Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Uterine Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / therapy
  • White People