Hey everyone! It’s Health Talk Thursday again!!
This month, we are taking a mini break from the pregnancy series and talking about FIBROIDS!
I put up a question on my WhatsApp and Facebook status and told you to send in questions you want answers to on this topic and I have compiled them to make into these 6 FAQ about fibroids. The questions and answers pretty much cover the basics about fibroids..
So, as usual, read, learn and share
What are Fibroids and what causes them?
Fibroids are non-cancerous muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus (womb). These tumors can range in size from small pea sized fibroids to very large fibroids as big as a large watermelon. They can be single or multiple. They are also usually not associated with an increased risk for cancer.
Like many other health conditions, Doctors and scientists don’t know exactly what causes fibroids.
How can I prevent myself from getting fibroids?/ How can I lower my chances of getting fibroid?
Like I said earlier, we still don’t know exactly what causes fibroids. There are a few factors that increases the likelihood that a person would get them though. These factors include
- Being Black or of African American descent
- Genetics i.e having a family member with fibroids
- Early onset of menstruation or late onset of menopause
- Age- Fibroids affects women in their reproductive years and the risks increase the older you get
- Lower Vitamin D Levels
- Diet high in red meats, or low in fruits, green vegetables and dairy
These are some of the risk factors and most of them are unmodifiable i.e. age, genetics, ethnicity. To reduce your chances, you can work on the modifiable risk factors by watching your diet, exercise and decreasing your alcohol intake.
How do I know if I have a fibroid?
Most fibroids don’t cause symptoms. A lot of people can have fibroids their whole lives without knowing. Black women are however more likely to have symptoms and often severe symptoms associated with fibroids. Some of the signs and symptoms to look out for include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding- sometimes heavy enough to cause anemia
- Frequent urination because of the pressure placed on the bladder
- Rectal pressure
- Feeling of fullness
- Abdominal distension- depending on the size of the fibroid
- Pain- Lower back pain and pain during sex
Can I get pregnant with Fibroids?
Yes! Most women with fibroids can get pregnant and have a healthy term pregnancy and baby. Depending on the size and location however, fibroids can very rarely cause infertility, or more commonly early miscarriages
How does having a fibroid affect my pregnancy?
Fibroids grow in the womb (uterus), the same place a baby grows. As a result, fibroids can sometimes lead to complications with pregnancy and delivery.
Because of the rise in estrogen in early pregnancy, fibroids can sometimes grow and this can lead to miscarriages, pain or bleeding during the first trimester.
As your baby develops, fibroids can sometimes lead to growth restriction in baby, preterm delivery or placental abruption- which is when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before baby is born. Your Doctor will usually keep a close eye on you during your pregnancy so the necessary interventions can be taken early on if any complications arise.
Women with fibroids are also 6 times more likely to have a c-section compared to women without fibroids. This is because fibroids can cause breech presentation in baby ( Malposition where baby is coming out bum or leg first), or cause your labor not to progress i.e. labor dystocia. Fibroids also increase your risks for post partum hemorrhage (bleeding).
What are the treatment options available for me if I have a Fibroid?
Treatment options for fibroids always depend on the size, location and symptoms the fibroids are causing. If your fibroids are not causing you any symptoms, then treatment is usually conservative with your doctor just monitoring the fibroids during your regular scans or check ups.
If you are symptomatic however, treatment options usually vary depending on the symptoms. They may include iron supplement pills for anemia, birth control pills, pain management pills etc.
Myomectomy is a surgery that is done to remove fibroids from your uterus. That is usually done if the fibroids are affecting your quality of life. There are also other surgical options that can be explored by your doctor.
In extreme cases, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is done.
These treatment options will be a discussion between you and your health care provider.
There you have it, answers to FAQs about Fibroids.
On a more personal note, when doing research on this topic, I got to read more on disproportionate effects fibroids have on the lives of black women. Black women are more likely to have fibroids and are more likely to suffer extreme complications from fibroids. In the US, Black women are twice as likely to have hysterectomies from fibroids and fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomies in the US.
If you ask a black woman anywhere in the world, chances are they know someone that has a fibroid, or they themselves have been diagnosed with fibroids. Fibroids can have debilitating effects on a woman’s physical health, emotional health, self esteem, and overall quality of life.
More research needs to be done on fibroids and its health impacts, and more awareness created on this health condition.
If you are interested, click the links below to learn more about the impacts of fibroids on black women, and some personal stories of black women’s journey with fibroids.
Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to like, share, post a comment, and subscribe to the blog. Catch y’all on the next post!
Disclaimer – This post should in no way substitute for professional medical advice. If you are having any concerns, please speak to your doctor.