How to Provide Support to a Loved One with Fibroids
Posted byMartha Garcia
How can you provide support to a loved one who has fibroids? Are there things you should or shouldn’t say or do? Here are some tips to help you navigate the journey with your friend or a family member.
First, educate yourself. If you have no clue what fibroids are, get some information from reputable medical sources. Learning about your friend’s condition is a huge step to providing support to her. Here are some quick facts courtesy of the Office on Women’s Health and Mayo Clinic:1,2
- Fibroids are benign muscular tumors that grow in the walls of the uterus.
- They can range in size, number and location in the uterus.
- Some women don’t experience any symptoms and may not even know they have fibroids.
- Side effects may include heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic discomfort, frequent urination or difficulty emptying the bladder, among other symptoms.
Once you’ve done your research, you may have a better idea of what your loved one is going through and be better able to support her.
For example, you planned a night on the town with your friend, but she calls to cancel because of her heavy period. Instead of getting upset that she’s bailing, offer to come over to her place instead and have a pajama party! Having an open relationship where you can discuss her feelings may make it easier for your friend to explain when she’s feeling well and when she may have to opt for a night in.
Do lend an ear. If your loved one just found out she has fibroids, she may want to vent. Listen to her express her feelings, without interrupting. Or if she wants to chat about her symptoms, be available and supportive for those conversations. Understand, as common as fibroids may be (The Office on Women’s Health reports up to 80 percent of women develop fibroids by the time they reach 50 years old.), it is new to her and she may be scared.1
Don’t offer unsolicited advice. Just because she wants to share something with you and you may have done your homework, doesn’t make you an expert. Only offer your opinion if your loved one specifically asks for it and you feel you have something relevant to contribute. Otherwise, simply be supportive, listen and always leave the medical advice to be explained by her doctor.
Don’t Dwell on It
What if your friend doesn’t want to talk about it at all? Then don’t bring it up. Focus on other things, like fun activities the two of you share or happy memories. Help to take her mind off her fibroids. The important thing is to follow her cue. If you’re mindful, you’ll know if your loved one wants to chat about it or if she prefers not to mention it at all.
Remember, this may be an ongoing concern for your loved one, so continue to be there. Her worries won’t stop after the initial diagnosis. Offer to attend doctor’s appointments with her and provide moral support when you’re in the waiting room. Check in occasionally to let her know you’re thinking about her.
And remember, a hug can go a long way. Simply offering a hug can let her know you’re there for her and want to provide support. If she isn’t the hugging type, that’s OK too, as long as you can communicate to her that you love her and will always be by her side.
July is Fibroid Awareness Month! Join us in spreading the word by using #WhyIWearWhite to show your support!
1“Uterine fibroids.” Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. February 6, 2017. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids#a
2“Uterine fibroids, Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic. July 6, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/symptoms-causes/dxc-20212514
- Posted by Martha Garcia
- On June 29, 2017