Hey there everyone hope you are all doing well and having a great day and staying healthy and happy. Well I am sure that you guessed it today I am going to be talking about Uterine Fibroids and what they are and their symptoms and all that stuff! I have Uterine Fibroids and have had them for many, many years and before I had a real diagnosis I thought that all the pain I had was normal and just how everyone felt. This is a subject that is not very talked about and that is why I am trying to get the conversation going because Uterine Fibroids are very common and can be a problem when you are pregnant but we will get into that a little later. For I want to say that I will be writing a few posts on this topic along with what questions to ask and what to self advocate for with your own health!
Okay, lets make this an introductory post on what Uterine Fibroids really are and why they actually happen. I also have to say that I am not a medical expert and the information on why it happens is information I am pulling from my own experiences and medical documents which will be linked so that you can look at them as well. Okay, so what are Uterine Fibroids is the question that I usually get from people and that is because it is not a commonly talked about health concerns like endometriosis or PCOS. Uterine Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors in the uterus. They can also be called leiomyomas or myomas now, before you start freaking out over the word cancerous let me just emphasize that they are not life threatening they are benign (which means not dangerous to your life) and they are more painful then anything else but that is of course if you even have symptoms. Okay, so lets stop right here and talk about how or why they even show up. Since fibroids are so common you would think that doctors know exactly why they show up and that is not the case because it is really on a case by case basis. There are a few reasons and those I am going to list below but first in my case it was apparently due to my hormones and how my body processes them but there are a few reasons that it can happen and here they are and I have also added the link for the reasons here:
-Other growth factors (from what I understand stuff like insulin control)
-Extracellular Matrix (ECM which I have not heard of before)
There are also risk factors to have them and these are some:
-Other factors (early menstruation, obesity, vitamin D deficiency, high red meat and low veggies, fruits, and dairy diet, drinking, etc...)
Let me explain most women do not have symptoms when it comes to fibroids the statistics show that 1 in 3 women with fibroids will have symptoms and there are around 3 million cases in the US per year. (I am not sure anymore what the global number is so I do not want to add that here!) Now the way that I understand fibroids from how they were explained to me is they are vary in size and location and number of fibroids as well, which means it is case by case. The symptoms however are for the most part the same and here they so you can keep an eye on them:
First the most common ones are:
Heavy, prolonged, or painful periods
Pain in the lower abdomen or back
Discomfort in the rectum
The ones that are less common but do still happen are:
Chronic pelvic pain
Difficulty emptying bladder
Inability to control urine flow
Very heavy, painful periods
Lump or mass in your abdomen
If you have bad pelvic pain then you should really go see your doctor and have them run tests to look at what is going on, which they can and you can ask for. The easiest way to get tested for them is by asking your gyn/ob for an ultrasound if you have these symptoms. There are a few other tests that can be done but ultrasound is probably the easiest one that will be done for you.
Now, I had quiet a few tests done because I have now been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, but you do not have to wait to get a different diagnosis. You know your body best and if you have any of these symptoms it does no harm to ask to be checked for uterine fibroids and the first test will be a pelvic exam and if they feel anything then they will order the ultrasound but if they don't and you think you may have fibroids then I encourage you to be your own advocate and push for an ultrasound. It is your body and as the patient you have the right to request treatment that is in the patient rights part of the medical papers you sign with your doctors and if they still refuse you have the right to get a second opinion. I also highly encourage you to get checked and tested if you are trying to have a baby because (as I found out the hard way) fibroids can grow when you get pregnant due to rising levels in estrogen and progesterone which can in some cases be a factor in pregnancy complications.
There are also 4 different kinds of fibroids and when I say different this only means that they are in different areas of the uterus. Now don't let the names scare you it simply means that that is where the uterine fibroids are located. They are:
-Intramural: Intramural fibroids are the most common type of fibroid. These types appear within the muscular wall of the uterus. Intramural fibroids may grow larger and can stretch your womb. (This is the type that I have.)
-Submucosal: These types of tumors develop in the middle muscle layer, or myometrium, of your uterus. Submucosal tumors aren’t as common as the other types
-Subserosal: Subserosal fibroids form on the outside of your uterus, which is called the serosa. They may grow large enough to make your womb appear bigger on one side.
-Pedunculate: Subserosal tumors can develop a stem, a slender base that supports the tumor. When they do, they’re known as pedunculated fibroids.
Now there are a number of treatments for this that are both natural and medical and I am linking them here. I would personally do the natural ways which is what I did because I want to have kids and want to have the least amount of drugs in my system for that. Now once I stop having kids then I will look into the medical ways of dealing this but for now natural is the way to go for me. I also recommend doing that for you and reading about fertility diets that will work with your fibroids in a book called it starts with the egg and I absolutely am loving that book.
Okay, well I hope you guys got some good information from this post and I will post another post on the questions you can ask your doctor and those can also be asked for general female reproductive health and please, please, please keep up with your appointments and get to know your body and what it is going through. I want to say that you guys are amazing and you are wonderful and you are doing great keep it going! Thank you for spending some time with me today. Till next time!