July is Fibroid Awareness Month! Learn How to Make a Difference
Also called myomas or leiomyomas, fibroids are benign (noncancerous) growths that form in or around the uterus. July is Fibroid Awareness Month, and it is important for women to understand what fibroids are and how they can be treated.
Though fibroids are common and affect many women of reproductive age, they often go undiagnosed because we attribute their symptoms to other causes. This month, we hope to make a difference by raising awareness about fibroids and educating friends and family about this condition.
In support of Fibroid Awareness Month, American Fibroid Centers highlights key facts about fibroids and their impact on uterine health. Women in Fishkill, Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens, West Orange, NJ, and Cincinnati, OH can call to schedule an appointment if they suspect fibroids.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are made up of smooth muscle cells and connective tissue. They can grow on or within the inner lining of the uterus. Fibroid growths range in size from very small (less than a quarter of an inch) to very large (the size of a grapefruit). They develop as a single growth or in clusters.
Though fibroids are noncancerous, they can cause uncomfortable symptoms and lead to more serious health complications when left untreated.
How to identify fibroids
Fibroids may grow without causing any symptoms at all. However, they can interfere with your quality of life depending on their size and location. The most common symptoms include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding: Fibroids can cause menstrual cycles to be heavier than normal or last longer than usual. Patients should track their menstrual cycles to look for any changes in bleeding patterns.
- Frequent urination: Fibroids may press against the bladder and cause urinary frequency or urgency. Try to urinate at regular intervals to see if this is a problem.
- Constipation: Some growths press against the rectum and make it difficult to have a bowel movement. Drink water and eat fiber-rich foods to stay regular.
- Discomfort during intercourse: Fibroids are known to cause pain during sex. Talk to your partner about any discomfort you may be experiencing.
- Pelvic pain and pressure: Patients may have a dull ache or sharp pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis due to fibroids. This pain may radiate to the lower back, buttocks, or legs.
How fibroids are diagnosed
Fibroids are normally found during a health evaluation with a primary care physician or gynecologist. They may ask about any relevant symptoms, take a medical history, and perform a physical exam to confirm a diagnosis. Patients may then be referred to American Fibroid Centers for treatment options in Fishkill, Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens, West Orange, NJ, and Cincinnati, OH.
What are the treatment options for fibroids?
Some over-the-counter medications relieve mild fibroid symptoms like pain and cramping. However, these medications don't address the root of the issue. American Fibroid Centers offers a minimally invasive procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).
UFE is an outpatient procedure performed using local anesthesia. A small catheter is inserted into the treatment area and guided to the uterine arteries. Once in place, tiny particles are released to block the blood flow to the fibroids. This starves the fibroids and causes them to shrink over time.
Improve your uterine health
Fibroid Awareness Month is the perfect time to learn about uterine fibroids and start the conversation with your loved ones. Schedule an appointment at American Fibroid Centers by calling a team member in Fishkill, Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens, West Orange, NJ, or Cincinnati, OH. We provide additional information and resources to help you take control of your uterine health.