Baby Boom Women Confronting Pelvic Health Conditions

ByABC News
March 24, 2008, 12:19 AM

Mar. 23 -- WEDNESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Baby boomer women still have hysterectomies at nearly the same rate that women did 25 years ago, despite the development of less drastic medical and surgical alternatives, a new report finds.

In 2005, more than 181,000 hysterectomies done in the United States were on Baby Boomers with two common uterine problems -- fibroid tumors and heavy bleeding. But both conditions can often be treated with newer, less-invasive approaches, according to the report commissioned by the National Women's Health Resource Center.

The center describes the report as a first-of-its kind study on the prevalence of pelvic health disorders among American women.

Baby Boomer women, born between 1946 and 1964, are now in the age group where other pelvic disorders, such as stress urinary incontinence and pelvic prolapse, are common. Both stress urinary incontinence and pelvic prolapse, when the pelvic organs shift downward, may be significantly under-diagnosed in American women. That lack of diagnosis may be due to several factors, including lack of awareness or the perceived stigma associated with the conditions, according to the report released Tuesday.

The National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) commissioned the report because there "are so many new treatment options for pelvic disorders available," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, the organization's executive vice president. "What we're finding out is that so many women don't know about" those options, she added.

Cahill said the report found that many women don't report the symptoms of fibroids, heavy bleeding, stress urinary incontinence or pelvic prolapse out of embarrassment or the belief that they are part of the normal course of aging.

She added that the NWHRC wants to make pelvic health the subject of the kind of discussion that's now commonplace for menopause. That way women will become more aware and ask their doctors about newer treatments, she said.