HealthyWomen applauds the action by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., in introducing legislation, the Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act (SB 4397), to address this silent disease that impacts most women.
Uterine fibroids, despite being a common gynecological condition among women, often go undiagnosed due to lack of education and research, causing millions of women to suffer. They can cause significant pelvic pain, iron deficiency, anemia, miscarriages, infertility and heavy bleeding, which is the most common symptom. Uterine fibroids are the most common cause of hysterectomies.
Over 26 million women ages 15 to 50 and across all racial lines and socioeconomic levels suffer from this condition, with Black women disproportionately affected. Most women experience fibroids by the time they reach 50. Yet, there is insufficient data to understand and inform women about the condition and options available. Research and education into this disease are long overdue. Senator Harris’s legislation, as well as its companion in the House (HB 6383), introduced by Rep. Yvette Clark, D-N.Y. , will go a long way toward addressing this common reproductive problem for women.
Targeted funding to the National Institutes of Health to conduct crucial research will ensure that women will be able to receive new evidence-based treatments leading to improved quality of life. Data across various federal programs will be collected and analyzed to help us fully understand the impact of this condition.
Women and health care providers will be provided the educational tools they need on this condition. Being informed will enable women to have a better conversation with their health care providers about their symptoms and what their options may be for treatment.
Public awareness campaigns will help elevate the conversation among women and their health care providers and will help address and, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with menstrual conditions, which are so often dismissed by society. This bill can help stop women with fibroids from suffering in silence.