Objectives: The aim of this guideline is to provide clinicians with an understanding of the pathophysiology, prevalence, and clinical significance of myomata and the best evidence available on treatment modalities.
Outcomes: Implementation of this guideline should optimize the decision-making process of women and their health care providers in proceeding with further investigation or therapy for uterine leiomyomas, having considered the disease process and available treatment options, and reviewed the risks and anticipated benefits.
Evidence: Published literature was retrieved through searches of PubMed, CINAHL, and Cochrane Systematic Reviews in February 2013, using appropriate controlled vocabulary (uterine fibroids, myoma, leiomyoma, myomectomy, myolysis, heavy menstrual bleeding, and menorrhagia) and key words (myoma, leiomyoma, fibroid, myomectomy, uterine artery embolization, hysterectomy, heavy menstrual bleeding, menorrhagia). The reference lists of articles identified were also searched for other relevant publications. Results were restricted to systematic reviews, randomized control trials/controlled clinical trials, and observational studies. There were no date limits but results were limited to English or French language materials. Searches were updated on a regular basis and incorporated in the guideline to January 2014. Grey (unpublished) literature was identified through searching the websites of health technology assessment and health technology–related agencies, clinical practice guideline collections, and national and international medical specialty societies.
Benefits, Harms, and Costs: The majority of fibroids are asymptomatic and require no intervention or further investigations. For symptomatic fibroids such as those causing menstrual abnormalities (e.g. heavy, irregular, and prolonged uterine bleeding), iron defficiency anemia, or bulk symptoms (e.g., pelvic pressure/pain, obstructive symptoms), hysterectomy is a definitive solution. However, it is not the preferred solution for women who wish to preserve fertility and/or their uterus. The selected treatment should be directed towards an improvement in symptomatology and quality of life. The cost of the therapy to the health care system and to women with fibroids must be interpreted in the context of the cost of untreated disease conditions and the cost of ongoing or repeat investigative or treatment modalities. Values: The quality of evidence in this document was rated using the criteria described in the Report of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (Table 1).