Surgery for uterine fibroids can often be done through minimally invasive techniques that avoid a hospital stay. But Black and Hispanic women may be less likely to receive these treatments, a recent study finds.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. Sometimes they cause no problems, but when they do — like heavy monthly bleeding and pain — treatment may be necessary.
What are your treatment options?
One option is surgery: a myomectomy, which removes just the fibroids; or a hysterectomy, which removes the uterus. Either surgery can often be done in a minimally invasive way — vaginally or through small incisions in the abdomen.
Yet in the new study, researchers found that Black and Hispanic women often did not receive those less extensive procedures — instead getting traditional surgery, with a large abdominal incision and a hospital stay.
Why the disparity?
The reasons are not completely clear, according to researchers.
But the investigators did find that Black and Hispanic women were less likely than white women to see a doctor who specialized in minimally invasive techniques.
Uterine fibroids are very common, but especially so among Black women, says researcher Dr. Rebecca Schneyer, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles.
Studies show that about 80% of Black women will have uterine fibroids by age 50, as will 70% of white women. But Black women typically develop them sooner: By some estimates, one-quarter of Black women have fibroids by age 30.
They are also more prone to having numerous or large fibroids, suffer more intense symptoms, and more often undergo