Fibroids are a common condition in women, with 40 to 80% of women experiencing this abnormal growth. However, irrespective of how prevalent fibroid is, it is less talked about.
Studies predict that 70-80% of women will have fibroids during their reproductive years. So if you are a woman, there is a huge chance that you may develop this condition. But that shouldn’t make you fret.
With the right understanding of fibroids, you should be able to note the symptoms if and when they come and get the appropriate treatment you need. Here are 4 things to note about living with fibroids.
1. Who gets fibroids, and what are their causes?
Fibroids are more prevalent in women in their 40s and early 50s and disappear after menopause. While fibroids are common in all women, they are often more prevalent in African American women, with 80-90% diagnosed with the growth.
Plus, this category of women are also diagnosed with fibroids at a younger age, with over 25% of African American women already developing this condition between the ages of 21-30.
No one knows certain fibroid causes. However, researchers believe that hormones and genetics play a significant role. Furthermore, it is said that obese women are more prone to fibroids due to the link it shares with those who eat substantial quantities of red meat.
2. Symptoms of fibroids
How do you know you have fibroids? By noting the symptoms, right? What if you don’t know the symptoms?
Here are some common symptoms of fibroid:
- Pressure on the bladder, resulting in regular urination
- Pelvic aches and heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to anemia or the need for a blood exchange
- Pressure on the rectum, leading to constipation and backaches
- Bloating, which can be a result of large fibroids pushing into the stomach region
The physical symptoms of fibroids can affect a woman’s health. But women with this condition also suffer emotionally from the effects of living with fibroids. Many women with fibroids often struggle with depression, anxiety, reduced quality of life, and distorted body image.
3. How much bleeding is extreme?
Menstrual bleeding is one common symptom of fibroids. However, when the bleeding is too much, you may have to seek help.
And how do you know how much bleeding is too much? Any bleeding that affects your quality of life is a concern. Here are other red flags:
- Having periods that last for more than seven days
- Bleeding between periods and having more than one monthly
- Soaking many pads and tampons in a short space of time, for instance, soaking through menstrual hygiene products each hour
- Passing big blood clots (more than the size of a golf ball)
Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? Call your doctor!
4. How are fibroids diagnosed and treated?
Fibroids are diagnosed via a typical pelvic exam. However, this exam doesn’t indicate the position or size of the fibroid. To determine its location, your doctor may carry out an ultrasound or other tests like MRI. Alternatively, lab tests such as a complete blood panel or other blood tests can be done to diagnose conditions caused by fibroids.
Fibroid treatment varies per the patient, size, and location of the fibroids. Common fibroid treatments include medications or surgery. It’s best to speak with your doctor to know your options.
Fibroids are common in many women, so living with them shouldn’t make you feel any different. What you should do is make an effort to understand this condition, so you know how to adjust your life to best manage it. You should also keep in close contact with your doctor.