The burden of uterine fibroids for African-American women: results of a national survey

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2013 Oct;22(10):807-16. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2013.4334. Epub 2013 Sep 14.


Background: Uterine fibroids have a disproportionate impact on African-American women. There are, however, no data to compare racial differences in symptoms, quality of life, effect on employment, and information-seeking behavior for this disease.

Methods: An online survey was conducted by Harris Interactive between December 1, 2011 and January 16, 2012. Participants were U.S. women aged 29-59 with symptomatic uterine fibroids. African-American women were oversampled to allow statistical comparison of this high-risk group. Bivariate comparison of continuous and categorical measures was based on the t-test and the Chi-squared test, respectively. Multivariable adjustment of risk ratios was based on log binomial regression.

Results: The survey was completed by 268 African-American and 573 white women. There were no differences between groups in education, employment status, or overall health status. African-American women were significantly more likely to have severe or very severe symptoms, including heavy or prolonged menses (RR=1.51, 95% CI 1.05-2.18) and anemia (RR=2.73, 95% CI 1.47-5.09). They also more often reported that fibroids interfered with physical activities (RR=1.67, 95% CI 1.20-2.32) and relationships (RR=2.27, 95% CI 1.23-4.22) and were more likely to miss days from work (RR=1.77, 95% CI 1.20-2.61). African-American women were more likely to consult friends and family (36 vs. 22%, P=0.004) and health brochures (32 vs. 18%, P<0.001) for health information. Concerns for future fertility (RR=2.65, 95% CI 1.93-3.63) and pregnancy (RR=2.89, 95% CI 2.11-3.97) following fibroid treatments were key concerns for black women.

Conclusions: African-American women have more severe symptoms, unique concerns, and different information-seeking behavior for fibroids.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leiomyoma / diagnosis
  • Leiomyoma / ethnology
  • Leiomyoma / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / psychology*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data