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A systematic review of the psychosocial impact of fibroids before and after treatment

      Objective

      Despite the high prevalence of uterine fibroids, the psychosocial impact of fibroids has not been evaluated across different quality of life indicators and compared with other chronic conditions. Here, we rigorously analyzed available evidence pertaining to the psychosocial burden of uterine fibroids in premenopausal women and compared validated quality of life and symptom scores before and after treatment.

      Data Sources

      We searched PubMed, PsycINFO, ClinicalTrials.gov, Embase, and Cochrane Library for publications from January 1990 to January 2020.

      Study Eligibility Criteria

      We considered English-language publications that evaluated the association between uterine fibroids diagnosed by imaging studies in premenopausal women and quality of life by standardized and validated questionnaires at baseline and after treatment. We used a detailed list of terms related to quality of life, questionnaires, and uterine fibroids to conduct the search.

      Methods

      Three reviewers screened titles and abstracts and then obtained full-text articles for further analysis. The reviewers assessed risk of bias using established Cochrane and Newcastle-Ottawa Scale guidelines. The quality of life scores of premenopausal women with fibroids were reviewed at baseline and compared with those of published quality of life scores in other disease populations in addition to after fibroid treatment.

      Results

      A total of 57 studies were included in the review: 18 randomized controlled trials and 39 observational studies. Of note, the 36-Item Short Form Survey and European Quality of Life Five-Dimension Scale questionnaires both indicated a diagnosis of uterine fibroids to have a disability score that was similar to or exceeded (was a greater psychosocial stressor) a diagnosis of heart disease, diabetes mellitus, or breast cancer. Quality of life scores were lower at baseline than after treatment in all instruments measuring these variables in women with uterine fibroids, indicating significantly impaired psychosocial functioning. Uterine fibroids were associated with significant patient-reported health disabilities related to bodily pain, mental health, social functioning, and satisfaction with sex life.

      Conclusion

      A diagnosis of uterine fibroids was a significant psychosocial stressor among women at baseline and relative to other diseases. Validated quality of life instruments indicated therapeutic success and the improvement of both physical and emotional symptoms after treatment.

      Key words

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