Real Uterine Fibroid Stories
If you only could remember one piece of knowledge today we hope it would be this: Period pain and heavy bleeding is not normal. For many women, this simple sentence can spark a belief that painful, unmanageable period are not the norm. Your aunt flo should not control your life. Women across the world battle a common, often unspoken uterine condition known as uterine fibroids. These benign tumors can dictate what you can do, where you can go, and when you can enjoy even the simplest activities.
For some women, fibroids may be silent, but for others, they may cause them unbearable symptoms. Whether you are at one end of the spectrum, or somewhere in the middle, you may be wondering, “what do I do now?” or “are there other women experiencing the same thing?”. We reached out to eight, unbelievable strong women to share their uterine fibroid stories of living with their life-altering symptoms, being diagnosed with uterine fibroids, and finally finding treatment for their pain.
We hope that by reading these uterine fibroid stories, women will better realize that they are not alone in their battle against fibroids. These women reflect how fibroids can significantly impact life. At USA Fibroid Centers, we are constantly working to make sure we can reach as many women as possible. We believe women should take complete control of their health care decisions and choose a treatment that they are confident in. However, before they can do that, they need to have all the information they need to make that important choice.
Keep reading to hear real stories from real women who have experience with uterine fibroids.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are benign growths that commonly develop in the uterus. They can range from the size of a pea to weighing more than 20 pounds. Although some women never experience symptoms at all, others struggle to get through the tasks of daily life.
Common symptoms are:
- Heavy and prolonged menstruation between or during your periods
- Anemia, which can lead to fatigue
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination
- Constipation and/or bloating
- Pain in your pelvis or lower back
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Stomach swelling
If you are experiencing any of the above, we encourage you to contact one of our fibroid specialists. Click the button below to take our 1-minute symptoms quiz.
The Faces of Fibroids
“Fibroids made it unbearable to plan a vacation, have a healthy sex life, and lose weight,” shares Nichet Smith, who sought treatment for more than 15 uterine fibroids. “They also caused me to have anemia, which severely affected my energy level.”
Smith experienced heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding as a result of fibroids. “My periods were extremely heavy, and lasted nine to ten days,” she says. “It got worse and worse. Heavy bleeding through a super plus tampon and overnight pads within one hour, maybe two.”
Before treatment, Smith also suffered from back pain, severe bloating, exhaustion, cramps, and pain during sex. Through it all, she wanted to avoid hysterectomy –– the treatment originally suggested by her doctor.
“Every doctor wanted to give me a hysterectomy, which infuriated me because there were other options,” says Smith. “A myomectomy was never offered as I had too many.”
After 17 years of living with fibroids, she pursued an effective, non-surgical fibroid treatment called Uterine Fibroid Embolization.
Anonymous Woman Shares Her Uterine Fibroid Stories
“You are basically uncomfortable going anywhere because you may leave a puddle behind,” shares one woman suffering from fibroid symptoms. “One time I was in a long board meeting and knew that I had bled through my outfit. I stayed sitting down after everyone got up and called the one other woman in the room over to tell her my situation. She went to go get a piece of cloth to cover my seat as I got up and handed me a brown paper bag with supplies to freshen myself up.”
Heavy, prolonged bleeding is one of the most common complaints from fibroid patients. Like this woman’s fibroid horror story, some have a particularly difficult time managing this symptom outside of the home. They avoid wearing lightly colored clothing and make frequent trips to the restroom so they don’t bleed through sanitary products. Others are only able to work from home.
Gail Anderson Shares Uterine Fibroid Stories
While we tend to focus on the physical symptoms, fibroids can also take an emotional toll. Gail Anderson explains, “Fibroids have impacted my life in so many ways. Since they’ve grown, I am now worried about the clothes that I wear (the growth mimics pregnancy body). It’s made it hard to date.”
“My fertility has been hijacked by the fibroids in my body,” she adds. “So many women suffer, but no one really talks about it.”
Anderson has been on her fibroid journey for over 15 years and has started a company to help other women living with symptomatic fibroids.
Uchenna Umeh Shares Her Story
Despite possessing an increased risk of developing fibroids, Uchenna Umeh wasn’t expecting her diagnosis. “I was in disbelief,” she realized, “I know my sister has fibroids and my aunt has fibroids, but never in my life did I think I had them. I suddenly noticed an increase in my bleeding, and my cramping became severe and unbearable, so [I] had an ultrasound and a biopsy because of my age.”
Women are often diagnosed during their reproductive years and are considered at increased risk when a close relative has fibroids.
Umeh noticed a change in her periods and began to dread them. “They became profuse, heavier, with clots, and I always would bleed and soak through three tampons and pads, and stain myself. [I] was really afraid it might be uterine cancer.” Regardless of the misery that fibroids have caused, Umeh expresses relief that she doesn’t have cancer.
In some cases, doctors may not be on the lookout for fibroids, or may initially believe symptoms to be the result of a different condition. Diana Brown shares her uterine fibroid stories, and how she is still furious that her nine years of increasing symptoms could have been prevented. She developed anemia, venous compression, and exercise intolerance as a result of fibroids.
Along with lengthy and heavy bleeding, Brown noticed the presence of clots during her period. “It was heavy, painful (sometimes debilitatingly so), long, and thick. I later learned that the thick/sludgy blood were clots. I didn’t realize that at the time, just noted that it was a different consistency. It’s not something people really are taught to examine/understand.”
If you are experiencing large menstrual clots (bigger than a quarter), be sure to tell your doctor.
Brown did just that, but her fibroids were only discovered after they caused vascular issues. She now expresses worry that this negligence might have lifelong consequences –– but also feels relief “to have a diagnosis that explained my symptoms.”
Anonymous – Uterine Fibroid Stories about Pain
Another individual her uterine fibroid stories about how she developed prolonged menstrual bleeding that worsened over time. “My periods went from five days to 14 days,” she says.
Along with increased bleeding, she also experienced severe fibroid pain, “I remember one night having bad abdominal pains. The pains in my stomach were so bad, I went to the emergency [room].”
The shape of her stomach also changed, causing her to be more self-conscious about her clothing selections. She mentioned the need to support her swollen stomach when changing positions.
This woman has not sought treatment at this time and fears fibroid surgery could be more harmful than helpful. She has begun to research other treatment options.
“I feel fatigued, and feel pain,” says Les Henderson. “Sometimes I’m awakened by the pain. It’s to the point where I hate making plans because then the pain will start and I’ll often cancel.”
Henderson was diagnosed fairly recently and presented with fibroid surgery as a treatment option. “However, I’m into holistic products so I thought that I could shrink this naturally, but there was little shrinkage and the pains are still around.”
She is now considering other treatment possibilities. Because there is no scientific evidence that natural remedies bring significant relief to severe fibroid symptoms, this approach is not generally recommended.
“I found out in November that I have a fibroid and apparently had some two years ago. Two years ago, my period got very heavy for a couple of days each month.” Donavan had treatment at the time but recently began experiencing fibroid symptoms again.
“My period brought cramps so bad, I was out of commission for two days each month,” says Angie Donavan. She also has struggled with heavy bleeding and is currently waiting for a follow-up appointment to discuss potential treatments.
Relate to These Uterine Fibroid Stories? You’re Not Alone
If you relate to any of these uterine fibroid stories, you should note that you’re not alone. According to womenshealth.gov, about 70 to 80% of women will develop uterine fibroids by the age of 50.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we understand how an overall lack of awareness surrounding uterine fibroids can lead to confusion and anxiety. Women are often not informed of their nonsurgical options, leaving them to do extensive research on their own. Approximately 28% of women have never heard of fibroids, and 19% inaccurately believe that fibroids are cancerous and require a hysterectomy. Even after suffering for years from the effects of fibroids, some may still believe that their fibroid symptoms are just normal issues that many women experience. This is because women are often told that period pain is a normal part of being a woman. And as a result, they don’t seek help.
By sharing these women’s empowering stories, we hope to encourage other women to seek out a fibroid specialist who can give them the answers they need about fibroids and treatment. Sharing The Faces of Fibroids empowers women to take control of their own health and life.
Women with Fibroids, Know There Is Hope
One of our goals as the only fibroid treatment clinic in the US is to raise awareness about hysterectomy treatment alternatives. We understand that some women may not be ready to give up their fertility, and we don’t want anyone to have to go through any kind of surgery that may not be necessary.
Surgery is scary, and losing your uterus is scarier. We specialize in Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) at USA Fibroid Centers, which we perform in our outpatient clinics. UFE is a simple treatment solution for women struggling with fibroids as it works by cutting off fibroid blood supply, thus relieving symptoms. During the UFE procedure, the embolic agents cause the fibroid to shrink and eventually die off.
If you’re experiencing worrisome period symptoms, don’t hesitate to consult with a medical professional. If you decide to schedule a consultation with us, you’ll meet with one of our Interventional Radiologists, a doctor that specializes in minimally-invasive procedures. They will work to create a treatment plan that best fits your symptoms and lifestyle.
Learn more about how you can benefit from UFE, give us a call today at 855.615.255 or click the button below to request an initial consultation today.