Think You Might Suffer From Fibroids? Here’s What You Need to Know.
Are your periods lasting longer than usual? Are you missing activities because your periods are too heavy or painful? Uterine fibroids could be to blame. If you think you may suffer from fibroids, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s more like the opposite. Up to 80% of women will experience fibroids by the age of 501, and African American women are three times more likely to experience fibroids than other races. 2
So, What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are noncancerous tissue growths in the uterus.3 Most fibroids will never develop into cancer, or pose an increased risk of cancer. They range in size, and can grow individually, or in a cluster. Fibroids affect all women differently, and some women may never experience symptoms. However, for many women, fibroids can impact overall health and quality of life through debilitating symptoms. Here are some fibroid symptoms you should be aware of: 3
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Backache or leg pains
Here’s What You Can Do
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, don’t panic. First things first – set up an appointment to talk to your doctor and explain your symptoms. It’s important to engage in open and honest conversations, so they can help find the best treatment for you. Starting the conversation may be tough, so we put together these conversation starters to help you.
If your doctor suspects fibroids are causing your symptoms, they will first check your pelvis to see if they can feel anything and then order an ultrasound or lab tests for a more conclusive diagnosis.4 If you do have fibroids, you can work with your doctor to determine the best next step for you – whether that be lifestyle changes or treatment. Fibroid treatment doesn’t have a to be ‘one size fits all’, there are a number of treatment options available depending upon a woman’s unique situation. You can learn about the various ways doctors treat fibroids here.
We’re in This Together
Finally, take a deep breath and remember that you’re not alone. You can find inspiration in communities and advocacy groups, like The White Dress Project, that are dedicated to creating communities and empowering women to conquer their personal battles with fibroids. You can also follow Change the Cycle on social media for helpful resources and tips to gaining freedom from heavy periods once and for all!
- “Uterine fibroids.” Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. February 6, 2017. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids
- 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.
- Uterine fibroids: Overview. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/home/ovc-20212509. Accessed April 25, 2017.
- Uterine fibroids: Diagnosis. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354294. Accessed June 5, 2018.