Most Women with Heavy Menstrual Periods Want a Treatment That Reduces, Not Eliminates, Their Menstrual Flow
Heavy Menstrual Periods
In a survey by the not-for-profit National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC), women with abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) defined treatment success as significantly less bleeding each month. Despite the fact that hysterectomy was the procedure most recommended to women of all ages, amenorrhea was not the desired outcome for the majority of women suffering from the condition - about two and a half million patient visits are attributed to this condition each year.
"Women with heavy periods want choices about their treatment and its likely outcome. While some doctors might conclude that women suffering from AUB would want to eliminate their periods, our survey shows otherwise," said Amy Niles, President and CEO of NWHRC.
The study surveyed women with AUB who had and had not been treated for their heavy period. Among those who had not been treated for their condition, only 30 percent reported that they wanted to end their periods. Thirty-six percent said they would prefer a procedure that reduces the level of bleeding and 32 percent would be "Okay" with either result or were "not sure." In order to treat their AUB condition, the majority would definitely or possibly choose a treatment that would not eliminate their periods, such as hormone treatment (62%), endometrial ablation (53%) or D&C (38%).
The numbers were even more compelling for women that had been treated for AUB. Among those women who had discussed with their doctor the outcome they wanted, 80 percent stated they wanted reduced bleeding, in contrast to 18 percent of women who said they wanted amenorrhea. The desire to reduce but not eliminate menstrual periods also appears to be consistent with many physician recommendations. Women reported that 77 percent of their OB/GYN's defined success as less bleeding and 21 percent as amenorrhea.
The survey also found that 97.5 percent of all women (treated or not treated) agree that women should be given choices on how to treat their AUB. The NWHRC urges physicians to discuss patient preferences in order to determine which treatment best fits a patient's needs and meets her expectations for success.
To help women understand abnormal uterine health issues and how to discuss these problems with their health care provider, the NWRHC recently launched their uterine health toolkit entitled "Uterine Health: Tools For Learning About Fibroids, Heavy Menstrual Bleeding, and Severe Menstrual Pain." To access the toolkit, log on to www.healthywomen.org/uterine
The national web-based survey of 801 women ages 35 - 49 years was conducted March 14 - 18, 2005. Of the 801 respondents, 400 had been treated for AUB and 401 had not received treatment. The average age was 42.8 years and 41.9 years, respectively. Margin of error for a sample of 400 respondents is +/-4.9% of that actually reported.
The results of this survey appeared in a special supplement of the August 2005 issue of Contemporary OB/GYN and were accepted at the 2005 American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists annual meeting for presentation.
The National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) is the leading independent health information source for women. The non-profit organization develops and distributes up-to-date and objective women's health information based on the latest advances in medical research and practice. NWHRC believes all women should have access to the most trusted and reliable health information. Informed women are healthier women.