July is Fibroid Awareness Month! Here’s Why it Matters.
These days, each month brings about a new string of initiatives for us to get behind, and sometimes it can be challenging to connect to these health agendas, despite how important we know they are. If you’ve ever found yourself looking at an awareness initiative and guiltily thinking, “But what does this really have to do with me?” then allow us to introduce you to Fibroid Awareness Month.
FACT: Most women are impacted by fibroids.
It’s a strong majority. Up to 80% of women will experience uterine fibroids, noncancerous tissue growths in the uterus, by the age of 501. There’s high probability that number includes, or will include, you or another woman in your life. While some women with fibroids are lucky enough to not experience symptoms, for those who do, symptoms can have a severe negative impact on quality of life, and may include heavy or long periods, pelvic pain, frequent urination or constipation.2
There’s more – African American women are three times more likely to experience fibroids than other races3, making this initiative extremely relevant for the women in the African American community.
FACT: In part due to social stigma that prevents an open and honest conversation about gynecological health, not all women know the treatment options available for fibroids, or even what fibroids are.
The result? A community of women who suffer in silence, often for years, before seeking treatment for their painful fibroids. Sometimes, women hesitate to seek treatment out of fear that a hysterectomy, removal of the uterus, may be their only viable solution. Indeed, more than 200,000 women in the U.S. undergo hysterectomy to treat fibroids each year4, despite a multitude of minimally invasive treatment options that can preserve fertility, such as hormone therapy or hysteroscopic myomectomy.
FACT: Participating in Fibroid Awareness Month is easy, and it can positively influence the women in your life.
The importance of an initiative like Fibroid Awareness Month is that it gives women who have real experiences with fibroids a platform use their voice to inspire others. By elevating the women who have powerful stories to tell, we can help change the cycle of silence that keeps so many women from speaking up and reaching out for support in dealing with their health issues.
You can join our fibroid awareness initiative this month by sharing your story or reason for supporting the movement on social channels, using the hashtag #WhyIWearWhite. We hope to see you join the conversation!
FACT: July is just the beginning.
An awareness initiative is only as impactful as the action it inspires. July may be Fibroid Awareness Month, but increasing our global community’s awareness of the prevalence of fibroids and the treatment options available to women is a day-by-day, year-over-year effort. And everyone can be a part of changing the cycle.
To learn more about Change the Cycle’s initiative to empower women to take control of their gynecological health, visit www.changethecycle.com and follow us on social media.
1) Uterine fibroids Fact Sheet. Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed February 6, 2017. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids
2) Uterine fibroids: Overview. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/home/ovc-20212509. Accessed April 25, 2018.
3) Stewart EA, Nicholson WK, Bradley L, Borah BJ. The Burden of Uterine Fibroids for African-American Women: Results of a National Survey. Journal of Women’s Health. 2013;22(10):807-816. Doi:10.1089/jwh.2013.4334. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3787340/. Accessed May 28, 2018
4) Uterine Fibroids. National Institutes of Health. https://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=50. Accessed May 30, 2018.