If you’re a woman in her 30s and 40s, then chances are you’ve heard of fibroids, those benign tumors that develop in the uterus. Usually, they’re no big deal, but they can be. Here are a few shocking things you probably didn’t know.
They’re extremely common. About 30% of all women develop fibroids by the age of 35, and between 70-80% of women will develop them by the age of 50. They’re also more common amongst African-American women, women who are overweight or obese, women who eat a lot of red meat, and women who have a family history of fibroids.
The symptoms of fibroid cysts can be pretty harsh. Many women who develop fibroids never even realize they have them. In many cases, fibroids can be as small as an apple seed, but they can also grow to be the size of a grapefruit, or the size of cantaloupe. In these rare cases, women will experience some rather brutal signs and symptoms of fibroids, including abdominal swelling, bladder issues, rectal pressure, and even pain during intercourse. The most common symptom, though, is an abnormal amount of menstrual bleeding. Some women are unable to leave the house on the days of their heaviest flows, and can even develop anemia.
You may want to get a second opinion if the doctor recommends uterine fibroid surgery. The most effective treatment is a type of surgery called the hysterectomy. This is a procedure that removes the uterus. Without the uterus, there’s no where for fibroids to develop and cause problems. However, Michigan University recently conducted a study that found one in five hysterectomies are performed needlessly, as there are other, alternative uterine fibroid treatments that would have been more appropriate, and could have preserved the uterus. These other fibroid treatments are typically outpatient procedures, that are more affordable, and have shorter recovery times.
These are the things you should know about fibroids. If you’d like to learn more, schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you have any questions about the facts presented here, feel free to share in the comments.