Background: Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) has been shown to have a profound negative impact on women's quality of life and lead to increases in health care costs; however, data on HMB among Chinese population is still rather limited. The present study therefore aimed to determine the current prevalence and risk factors of subjectively experienced HMB in a community sample of Chinese reproductive-age women, and to evaluate its effect on daily life.
Methods: We conducted a questionnaire survey in 2356 women aged 18-50 years living in Beijing, China, from October 2014-July 2015. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to identify risk factors for HMB.
Results: Overall, 429 women experienced HMB, giving a prevalence of 18.2%. Risk factors associated with HMB included uterine fibroids (adjusted odds ratio [OR] =2.12, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.42-3.16, P < 0.001) and multiple abortions (≥3) (adjusted OR = 3.44, 95% CI = 1.82-6.49, P < 0.001). Moreover, women in the younger age groups (≤24 and 25-29 years) showed higher risks for HMB, and those who drink regularly were more likely to report heavy periods compared with never drinkers (adjusted OR = 2.78, 95% CI = 1.20-6.46, P = 0.017). In general, women experiencing HMB felt more practical discomforts and limited life activities while only 81 (18.9%) of them had sought health care for their heavy bleeding.
Conclusions: HMB was highly prevalent among Chinese women and those reporting heavy periods suffered from greater menstrual interference with daily lives. More information and health education programs are urgently needed to raise awareness of the consequences of HMB, encourage women to seek medical assistance and thus improve their quality of life.
Keywords: China; Cross-sectional study; Heavy menstrual bleeding; Prevalence; Quality of life; Risk factors.