Fibroids are non-cancerous (benign) tumours that grow from the muscle layers of the uterus (womb). Fibroids in the uterus are usually related to excess oestrogen and as such often decline at menopause unless oestrogen dominance is present, which is very common. In either case they can be often managed with supplementary bioidentical natural progesterone.
They are a common reason of hysterectomy so dealing with the oestrogen dominance related to them, and ensuring healthy hormone balance, is the best way of reducing your risk. Fibroids and their related symptoms can make your life a misery and definitely will affect the quality of your life from being anaemic from the heavy blood loss and the tiredness associated with that to the simple practicality of dealing with such a heavy flow.
A study of nearly 1,000 women was published in 2013 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Journal of Women’s Health. The women invovled had suffered from fibroids for at least nine years and the findings showed a woman’s whole quality of life is affected from work to personal life. Elizabeth A. Stewart, M.D., lead author and surgeon at the Mayo Clinic commented. “Many people are unaware that the vast majority of women will experience uterine fibroids in their lifetime and that this condition can cause significant fear for those with symptoms.”
Do You Know If You Have Fibroids?
The majority of women will have no symptoms at all, but some may experience the following:
- Heavy, prolonged bleeding and/or painful periods
- Anaemia from heavy periods so you have tiredness and shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain or bloating
- Pain in your lower back and legs.
- Frequent urination and constipation if the fibroid presses on the bladder or rectum
- Pain or discomfort during sex
What Can You Do?
Interestingly the survey found that the majority of women suffered for an average of 3-5 years before seeking any help. This was due to fear that the fibroids will grow (79 percent) and that they will need a hysterectomy (55 percent), as well as fears regarding future fertility and pregnancy, the impact on relationships, sexual function, body image, loss of control and hopelessness. Almost two-thirds (66 percent) of women were concerned about missed days from work due to their symptoms, and 24 percent felt that their symptoms prevented them from reaching their career potential.
What may surprise the medical profession, but not women themselves, is that the vast majority said they prefer a minimally invasive treatment option that preserves the uterus. Other than a hysterectomy, the other option offered is usually ultrasound as that is non-invasive
Prevention is always a better option so tackling the oestrogen dominance that is at the root of it is the place to start. Smaller fibroids respond well to bioidentical natural progesterone supplementation, together with a removal of additional oestrogen sources from synthetic hormones such as HRT. Once fibroids grow beyond a certain mass then surgery may be the only option as they will be fed by any additional hormones.