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Impaired Work Performance Among Women With Symptomatic Uterine Fibroids

Lerner, Debra MS, PhD; Mirza, Fadi MD; Chang, Hong PhD; Renzulli, Karen PsyD; Perch, Katherine BA; Chelmow, David MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 2008 - Volume 50 - Issue 10 - p 1149-1157
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181895e10
Original Articles

Objective: To assess the work impact of symptomatic uterine fibroids (UFs).

Methods: A cohort study compared 58 employed women with symptomatic UFs to 56 healthy controls. Data sources included a self-administered mail questionnaire and medical charts. At-work performance limitations and productivity loss were measured with the Work Limitations Questionnaire. Univariate and multivariate case-control group differences were tested.

Results: Based on adjusted mean scores, the UF group had significantly more at-work limitations and productivity loss than controls, while absence rates were similar. The UF group’s performance was impaired 18% of the time on average versus 8% for controls (P-values, 0.005–0.040). At-work limitations were explained by depression symptoms, Non-White race/ethnicity, and poorer health-related quality of life.

Conclusions: Fibroids and related symptoms impose a burden on the working lives’ of women, their employers, and the economy.

From the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies (Dr Lerner, Dr Chang, Dr Renzulli, Ms Perch), Tufts Medical Center, Tufts School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences, Boston, MA; Tufts School of Medicine and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Dr Mirza), Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY; and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Dr Chelmow), Tufts Medical Center, Tufts School of Medicine, Boston, MA.

CME Available for this Article at

Debra Lerner, Fadi Mirza, Hong Chang, Karen Renzulli, Katherine Perch, and David Chelmow have no financial interests related to this research.

Address correspondence to Debra Lerner, MS, PhD, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington Street, #345, Boston, MA 02111; E-mail:

Copyright © 2008 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine