OBJECTIVE: To examine the prevalence and impact of heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) among women in Europe, and their experience of HMB assessment and management.
METHODS: An internet-based survey was conducted among women (aged 18-57years) in five European countries between January and February 2012. The prevalence of HMB among the general population was determined in a short survey, and women who had been diagnosed with HMB were then asked to complete an extended survey about their diagnosis and symptoms.
RESULTS: Overall, 4506 women responded, of whom 1225 (27.2%) had experienced two or more predefined HMB symptoms within the previous year. Of these women, 564 (46.0%) had never consulted a physician. Among 330 women who completed the detailed survey, 208 (63.0%) had ever been diagnosed with iron deficiency or iron-deficiency anemia. Symptoms associated with iron deficiency were used to help confirm a diagnosis in 83 (39.9%) women. Only 152 (46.1%) of the 330 patients with confirmed HMB had received prescription medication for iron deficiency.
CONCLUSION: Many women affected by HMB do not seek medical help, and few of those who do consult physicians report that they have received appropriate treatment. HMB continues to be underdiagnosed and poorly treated.