What’s a Fibroid Anyway?
by Meghan Cleary
Eighty precent of all women will have a fibroid in their lifetime – so what in the heck are they?
Fibroids are benign fatty tumors that grown in and around your uterus. They do not cause cancer, and while their cause is not definitively known, they are thought to be caused by hormone imbalances. They are the number one reason for a visit to ob-gyn offices in the U.S.
Some women don’t have any symptoms of a fibroid – they may have one that shows up in an ultrasound in their doctor’s office and not even know they had it. Some women have a ton of really horrible symptoms like really heavy bleeding – so heavy it can make them anemic – or incredible pain. Since fibroids sit in an area of the body that has a ton of dense and interconnected organs, muscles, bones and ligaments – fibroids can press on any and all of these things and cause some havoc. The biggest symptom is pain – but fibroids can also press up against arteries as well. So while fibroids themselves are not fatal per se, if one is not moving and is pressing against an artery or vein in your body it can cause serious problems. That’s why it is always a good idea if your medical provider tells you you have fibroids to ask how big and where exactly they are located.
The other time fibroids become a problem is if you are trying to get pregnant. In this case, the size of the fibroid does not matter as much as the location. If a tiny fibroid is sitting in front of one of your fallopian tubes – it can inhibit an egg from coming down the fallopian tubes to the uterus. If a fibroid is sitting the muscle wall of the uterus, it can change the shape of the uterus and make it hard for a zygote to implant and stay cozy. If you are trying to get pregnant it is crucial you have a pelvic MRI or transvaginal ultrasound to detect any fibroids you might have and where they are. Some women choose to have them removed laproscopically before starting to try and get pregnant or begin IVF treatments.
Finally, fibroids are what is known as co-morbid to endometriosis. What that means is that they occur very often in people who also have endometriosis. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean you as a patient need to be aware of everything going on in your body. If your doctor is seeing fibroids in your body, make sure you note where they are, how big and start to track them so you can see if they are growing as you move forward and determine if they may be the cause of symptoms like pain or heavy bleeding.
For more information on fibroids and endometriosis you can go to my site, www.bad-periods.com
About Meghan Cleary
Meghan is a survivor of endometriosis and fibroids. After finding treatments that finally worked for her, Meghan launched http://bad-periods.com in an effort to spread what she learned during her long, painful journey.With a diverse background as a marketing executive on Wall Street, shoe designer, fashion writer, and author of two books about shoes, Meghan is now using her gift of writing to publish a book about why it took 31 years to be diagnosed. Meghan writes about women’s reproductive health care issues for publications like Teen Vogue and teaches seminars about obtaining insurance coverage for endometriosis excision.