For women over 35, fibroids are often a fact of life. If you don’t have one, you definitely know a woman who does. In fact, by age 50, 70 percent of white American women and 80 percent of African American women had fibroids.
But, how much do you know about something so common? Ten facts to know about fibroids:
1. Fibroids are the most common tumors of the female reproductive system.
Made up of muscle cells and connective tissue, they can grow almost anywhere on the uterus or between the uterus and vagina. 99% of them are non-cancerous.
2. Fibroids vary in size.
They can be as small as a pea and up to the size of a grapefruit, or sometimes even larger.
3. Some women never have symptoms.
Other women have heavy bleeding during their periods or in between periods, pelvic pressure in their lower abdomen, pain during sex, and lower back pain.
4. African-American women are more prone to having multiple fibroids.
5. Fibroids can run in the family.
If your mother had them, you’re three times more likely to have them too.
6. Diet affects fibroids.
Eating red meat and pork can increase the risk while eating more vegetables means a lower risk.
7. Vitamins can make a difference.
8. If your fibroids are small, you may only need to monitor its growth.
You and your doctor can decide the frequency of ultrasounds.
9. Hormonal therapy can help.
This includes hormonal injections, birth control pills, or a hormonal IUD, which can help regulate estrogen and shrink the growths.
10. If your fibroids are severe, you have options.
Fibroids are the reason for 39% of the hysterectomies performed in the US every year, but that is the last resort option. Your doctor might recommend other, simpler surgical options as well.
The end of year rush is usually devoted to gift-getting, holiday travel, and spiked holiday drinks. Take the time to also think about your health. Whether you’re getting in on ObamaCare enrollment (quick before they take it from you!), spending down the last of your health care savings account, or gearing up for your new year, your health is vital to a happy 2017 and a great 2018.
Don’t take it for granted!