Dysfunctional uterine bleeding carries large financial and quality-of-life costs
Research Activities, September 2009
Surgical treatment can be a cost-effective option for women who suffer from dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) and have found no relief with medical treatment, a new study finds. Women with DUB can experience unpredictable, heavy bleeding that can last several weeks. In fact, one-third of the 237 women with DUB in the study reported being bedridden for a day or more during a bleeding episode. After surveying the women, researchers found that average lost productivity costs at home and at work were $2,291 per woman. Further, annual out-of-pocket costs for pharmaceuticals, pads, and tampons averaged $333 per woman.
The researchers determined that a surgery costing $40,000 or less would be considered cost-effective. The factors used to determine this cost threshold for DUB treatment were quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and women's out-of-pocket costs. QALYs were calculated using health utility measures, which measure quality of life over time with a scoring system based on individuals' responses to questions about tradeoffs they are willing to make to improve their health. All the women in the study sought surgery for relief of their DUB. Currently, hysterectomy is the only surgical treatment that can eliminate bleeding, but it is costly and can require a long recovery period, the authors note. This study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS09506).
See "Financial and quality-of-life burden of dysfunctional uterine bleeding among women agreeing to obtain surgical treatment," by Kevin D. Frick, Ph.D., Melissa A. Clark, Ph.D., Donald M. Steinwachs, Ph.D., and others in the January-February 2009 Women's Health Issues 19(1), pp. 70-78.