Sheba Feminine

Fibroid Awareness Month: Understanding a Silent Epidemic

Jul 10, 2024 | Education, Health, Reproductive Health | 0 comments

July is Fibroid Awareness Month, a crucial time to shed light on a health condition affecting millions of people with a uterus worldwide. Though benign, fibroids can significantly impact quality of life. Awareness and education are essential for better management and treatment.

Research estimates that 171 million people worldwide suffer from fibroids. Shockingly, fibroids affect 70-80% of individuals between the ages of 35 and 54, with the prevalence rising to 80% among Black individuals. Despite this high occurrence, fibroids are often under-discussed, leading to a lack of awareness and delayed treatment. This silence and misinformation surrounding the condition means many do not realize they have fibroids, they lack access to adequate information or treatment, or normalize their symptoms as an inevitable part of life.

What Are Fibroids?

Fibroids are noncancerous growths composed of smooth muscle cells and connective tissue. They develop within or on the lining of the uterus and can vary dramatically in size, from less than 6mm to as large as a orange. While they are benign, their presence can cause various uncomfortable symptoms and lead to serious health complications if untreated.

Identifying Fibroids

Fibroids can grow silently, causing no noticeable symptoms. However, when symptoms do appear, they can be quite disruptive and life-altering. Key symptoms include:

  1. Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: Unusually heavy or prolonged menstrual periods sometimes accompanied by clotting.
  2. Frequent Urination: Pressure on the bladder leading to frequent or urgent urination.
  3. Constipation: Fibroids pressing against the rectum, causing difficulty with bowel movements.
  4. Discomfort During Intercourse: Pain during sex.
  5. Pelvic Pain and Pressure: Dull ache or sharp pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis, which may radiate to the lower back, buttocks, or legs.
  6. Severe menstrual cramps
  7. Infertility

The exact cause of fibroids is unknown, but hormonal, genetic, and environmental factors are believed to play roles in their development. Most fibroids occur in individuals of childbearing age, particularly in their 30s and 40s.

Statistics show that close to 33% of people with fibroids have missed work due to symptoms, and 24% feel their career potential has been limited. Black individuals are disproportionately affected, often experiencing more severe symptoms.

Treatment Options

Many are unaware of the full range of treatment options available beyond hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus. According to a 2017 survey by the Society of Interventional Radiology, 20% believe hysterectomy is the only treatment for fibroids. This misconception contributes to an average three-year delay in seeking treatment, despite debilitating symptoms.

In reality, several less invasive alternatives exist:

  • Uterine Fibroid Embolization: A minimally invasive procedure that cuts off blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink.
  • Myomectomy: Surgical removal of fibroids while preserving the uterus.
  • Uterine Fibroid Ultrasound: A non-invasive treatment using high-intensity focused ultrasound waves to destroy fibroids.
  • Hormone Treatment: Medications that regulate hormones to shrink fibroids and relieve symptoms.

Fibroid Awareness Month serves as a reminder of the importance of dialogue and education around this common condition. By increasing awareness, we can recognize symptoms early, seek appropriate treatment, and reclaim our quality of life. It’s time to break the silence and ensure that everyone has the knowledge and resources needed to manage their health effectively!

Here are some resources to assist with understanding fibroids:

The White Dress Project :

The Womb Bae:

The Fibroid Treatment Clinic:


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