Uterine fibroids affect up to 50% of all women, meaning that they impact the health of millions of American women every year. Furthermore, a study from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine found that African-American women were not only more likely to suffer from fibroids, but also developed more fibroids compared to Caucasian women.
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors which develop in or around the uterus, and despite their prevalence, many U.S. women know little about this common health problem. So what are the signs and symptoms of fibroids you should be aware of? Common signs and symptoms of fibroids include:
- Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged periods (seven days or more), spotting between your periods
- Frequent urination, difficulty going to the bathroom, constipation
- Pelvic pain
- Back and leg pain
- Swollen abdomen from an enlarged uterus
- Regular pain during intercourse
It’s important to note that the number, size, and location of the tumors will determine which signs and symptoms of fibroids appear. For example, only 46% of women diagnosed with this condition reported experiencing particularly heavy periods.
In addition to these common signs and symptoms of fibroids, common risk factors include: obesity, African-American heritage, having no children, experiencing your first period prior to age 10, and heavy alcohol use. Also, many doctors believe fibroids can be hereditary, and so if your mother or sisters developed uterine tumors, it’s important to be wary of these signs and symptoms of fibroids.
Although the word “tumor” is hardly reassuring, please remember that uterine fibroids are benign. Not only that, but there are a number of uterine fibroids treatment options widely available today. Although the removal of the uterus is perhaps the most common of all fibroid treatments, there are other options for women who would like to have children in the future.
The removal of the uterus, or a hysterectomy, is one uterine fibroids surgery; however, there are also outpatient methods for the removal of uterine fibroids as well.