Fibroids are typically noncancerous tumors that grow in the muscle walls of the uterus.1
Studies have found that up to 80 percent of women will have uterine fibroids by age 50.1
Symptoms related to fibroids can range from heavy bleeding, menstrual pain, frequent urination, trouble conceiving and more.2 If you suffer from these symptoms and think they may be caused by fibroids, talk to a doctor.
Not all fibroids come with symptoms. In fact, it’s very common for women to have asymptomatic fibroids.2 If fibroids do not present symptoms or negative implications for a woman’s health, they may not have to be removed. Women should consult their doctor to determine the best path forward.
Fibroids can affect a woman’s ability to conceive.2 If women are facing reproductive trouble, they should talk with a doctor to explore diagnostic tests, which help to determine the cause for infertility.
While there is no causal link between genetics and fibroids, research findings lead physicians to believe there is a genetic component to a woman’s susceptibility to developing fibroids.3 Having a family member with fibroids increases risk – if your mother had fibroids, your risk of also experiencing them is roughly three times higher than someone who does not have fibroids in her family.1
Advances in medicine have led to a number of treatment options– including non-surgical methods like birth control pills or IUD, as well as minimally invasive surgeries like laparoscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopic myomectomy.1,4 Treatment for fibroids depends on the size, volume and severity of fibroids, as well as a woman’s health and lifestyle preferences. To learn more about treatment options, click here.
Heavy periods, or abnormal uterine bleeding, are periods that have excessive or prolonged bleeding. You may fall into this category if you notice you are changing pads or tampons after less than two hours, passing blood clots larger than a quarter, needing to wear more than one sanitary product to prevent an accident, avoiding your usual activities and/or missing work because of your period.5
It is estimated that 1 in 5 women experience heavy periods.1 Women who are overweight and/or have a hormonal imbalance are at higher risk for heavy periods.6
Unpredictable cycles that vary in flow from month to month are common, especially as a woman approaches her menopausal years.7,8 Heavy bleeding should still be discussed with your doctor, even if it doesn’t occur every month.
Fibroids, polyps and hormonal imbalances are common causes of abnormal uterine bleeding, in addition to other illnesses and disorders, such as von Willebrand disease or pelvic inflammatory disorders.5
Bladder and bowel suppression training will not eliminate the issue entirely, but these strategies can certainly help make your symptoms more manageable and increase your awareness of urges as they occur so you can avoid accidents and leaks.2,3
No! In fact, surgery should only be considered as a last resort for patients whose symptoms did not respond to other treatments. There are many treatment options available to women, ranging from lifestyle changes and medications, to minimally invasive nerve and muscle stimulation therapies.2,3
You are not alone – these conditions are actually very common. Bowel leakage affects up to 15% of women, and overactive bladder occurs in almost 50% of all women at some point in their lives. 1,4
Both conditions are considered complications of childbirth as pregnancy and delivery can cause weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and sphincter.4,5
- Uterine Fibroid Fact Sheet. Office on Women’s Health. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids.
- "Uterine Fibroids: Symptoms & Causes.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/symptoms-causes/syc-20354288 Accessed February 20, 2019.
- Stacey L. Eggert, Karen L. Huyck. Genome-wide Linkage and Association Analyses Implicate FASN in Predisposition to Uterine Leiomyomata. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2012; 91 (4): 621 DOI: 1016/j.ajhg.2012.08.009
- "Uterine Fibroids: Diagnosis & Treatment.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354294 Accessed February 20, 2019.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heavy menstrual bleeding. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html. Accessed February 19, 2019.
- “Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding).” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352829. Accessed February 19, 2019.
- “Menstrual cycle: What’s normal, what’s not.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menstrual-cycle/art-20047186. Accessed February 19, 2019.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Frequently Asked Questions: Perimenopausal Bleeding and Bleeding After Menopause. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Perimenopausal-Bleeding-and-Bleeding-After-Menopause. Accessed February 19, 2019.