This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
There are times throughout the year when I write about very important topics – this is one of those times, so listen up! As we get older and into our 30s, there are some things that we should be aware of that could possibly be causing pain, both physically and mentally – one of those things being uterine fibroids.
July is Fibroid Awareness Month, which means it is a perfect time to bring attention to this common, yet underdiscussed, women’s health issue. Since it is not talked about very often, many women may not even be aware of what fibroids are.
What’s worse? Fibroids could be the cause of many ailments and pain that women experience, and may impact fertility. Many women aren’t aware of fibroids, let alone know that there are many ways to treat them. And despite the fact a large number of women suffer from fibroids, many suffer in silence because no one talks about it.
Up to 80% of women will experience fibroids by the age of 50.1 If you’re not sure if some of the pain you’re experiencing (usually during your menstrual cycle) is or is not related to fibroids, it is important that you discuss all your symptoms with your doctor to work together on what treatment plan works best for you.
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors on the uterus and symptoms include:2
- Heavy bleeding
- periods lasting more than a week
- frequent urination
- pelvic pressure or pain
- difficulty emptying bladder
- backaches and/or leg pains.
The good news? There are a variety of treatment options available that include lifestyle changes, drug therapy, minimally invasive procedures, and hysterectomy. Women can learn more about their options here.
This is why I wanted to share this information with all of you. We can support each other by gaining the knowledge necessary to advocate for our own health and the lives of other women. The more we know, the better we are.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Jessica Shepherd, M.D., a minimally invasive gynecologist at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. I was able to ask her some important questions related to women’s health, changes to our bodies, menstrual cycles in our 30s and pregnancy. You can check out our conversation below:
Q. Is infertility a possibility if my fibroids go untreated?
A. Fibroids can impact fertility, however, they can be removed and therefore help restore fertility. When fibroids affect fertility, it is usually due to the fibroids being located in the endometrial cavity or near the fallopian tube. If they are removed, there is a good chance it can help improve fertility rates.
Q. As we age, (ages 30-40, before pre-menopause) are there changes that can happen to our menstrual cycle that we should be aware of?
A. Menstrual cycles can change dramatically in the age range of 30-40. Many of these changes occur due to changes in hormones after pregnancy or when a woman is close to menopause, also known as perimenopause. The changes can range anywhere from irregular periods, in how often they occur, and lighter or even heavier periods.
Q. If we are done having children, but are still at childbearing ages, what are some non-traditional birth control options that you think are safe and effective?
A. As long as a woman is having her cycles, she can potentially get pregnant. Non-traditional birth control options include spermicide, condoms, and a non-hormonal IUD that has copper in it.
Q. What are some of the abnormalities that can arise that you should consult your doctor with right away?
A. Any significant changes in your cycle whether it is the amount of flow, duration of the cycle or regularity should be addressed with your Gynecologist, if it persists for over 3 months. Also changes in vaginal discharge or pelvic pressure and pain should alert you to visit your doctor.
Q. If a woman is planning for a family and is experiencing fibroids, what are the steps to take to eventually have a successful pregnancy?
A. Definitely have a visit with your OB/GYN before trying to conceive so you are aware of all your potential risks and ensuring that you are in best health! They are not always symptomatic so having them doesn’t mean they have to come out. It is important to know if they are there, but more important to know when they need to be addressed or not.
This is why I wear white this month for Fibroid Awareness Month. I wear my white proudly because I am a woman and not ashamed of what my body does any time of the month. Most importantly, I am teaming up with Change the Cycle in its mission to empower women to take control of their heavy periods and fibroids by knowing their treatment options.
Again, if you are having any abnormal pain, or pain that you think is normal (but isn’t), please consult your doctor. There is help.
To find out more about Change the Cycle, connect with them on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. And don’t forget to share your stories about #WhyIWearWhite on your own social media channels.
Compensation was provided by Hologic. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hologic.
1. Uterine Fibroid Fact Sheet. Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids. Accessed April 27, 2017.
2. Uterine fibroids: Overview. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/home/ovc-20212509. Accessed April 25, 2017.