If you’re an American women, over the age of 30, there is a good chance that you will develop fibroids at some point in your life. If you’re a black woman, you’re even more susceptible. Fibroids are interesting. We don’t know for sure what causes them though estrogen seems to stimulate growth. I know, you may be thinking, wow, that’s one more thing to add to the list of possible female health issues, but before you get discouraged let’s talk about what we do know.
What are Fibroids really?
Fibroids are non cancerous tumors that originate from the smooth cells of the uterus. They can be as small as a pea or as large as a melon and are often undetectable. Some women have fibroids and don’t realize it. They can do a good job of keeping themselves hidden. For example, if fibroids are small and you have no symptoms, you may only be aware of the them after a pelvic exam. In other cases, the symptoms are pretty prevalent, causing women to complain of a variety of symptoms such as heaviness at the bottom of the abdomen, heavy menstrual periods, frequent urination, and abdominal bloating and distention.
Bleeding through clothing, going through tons of pads and tampons, and trying to plan activities around menstrual cycles is often times what frustrates women to the point of seeing a doctor. In addition, fibroids can cause other health problems like anemia; bladder and kidney problems; and may change the shape of the uterus causing problems with pregnancy.
The Good News
While fibroids can be a royal pain for many women, there is good news- fibroids rarely become cancerous. More good news is that there are a variety of treatment options for you and your doctor to consider, which might include:
1) Natural options (dietary, herbal)
2) Conventional Therapy (hormones and surgery)
3) Laparoscopic Myomectomy
4) Open Myomectomy
5) Hysteroscopic resection
6) Fibroid Coagulation
7) Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)
As you can see, the options span the spectrum from natural treatments such as dietary modifications and herbal remedies to conventional treatments such as hormones and surgery. Together, you and your health provider can decide on the best course of treatment based on your specific needs.