If you’re reading this, you’re probably in a certain state of relief. After all the pain and all the nervous “wait and see” assurances given by your doctor during the testing process, you’ve been assured that the alien lumps in your uterus aren’t cancer, but another benign and highly common condition called uterine fibroids. However, you’re probably still a little confused, so we’ve compiled the following cheat sheet to help you better understand your ailment:
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are basically benign tumors that take up residence in your uterus. Some are as small as a pencil eraser while others can get as big as a grapefruit.
What Causes Fibroids?
While the direct cause is unknown, some key risk factors have been identified. If you suffer from obesity, have never had any biological offspring, got your period before the age of ten, or are African American, you are at higher risk of getting uterine fibroids.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Fibroids?
Even though uterine fibroids are typically benign, they can be extremely bothersome and are the reason some women seek fibroid treatments. A larger fibroid can press on surrounding nerves and organs and cause severe pain or stress on these areas of the body. Furthermore, although it’s not clear why, many women with uterine fibroids experience extremely heavy periods that can lead to anemia.
Uterine Fibroid Treatments
The list of uterine fibroid treatments is long and probably the source of some of your confusion. In a nutshell, fibroids can be treated by:
-Surgically removing them
-Surgically removing the entire uterus (a hysterectomy)
-Cutting off blood to the fibroid
-Shrinking the fibroid with medicine
-Killing the fibroid with guided heat/electrical current
Although we are fortunate to live in a time where uterine fibroid treatments are legion, not all uterine fibroids treatment options are created equal, and it will be up to you and your doctor to choose the method that’s right for you. A hysterectomy, for example, is the most common method of fibroid tumor treatment because it guarantees the fibroids won’t come back, but many women balk at the idea of losing their uterus in the process, as this is an extremely invasive surgery that can have long term effects on hormone levels. We highly encourage you to research all treatment options, even the experimental ones, and make sure to give your doctor a thorough medical history so that they can best advise you.
Your ordeal is almost over. The sooner you pick a fibroid treatment, the sooner you can get back to your normal life.