Thank you Boston Scientific for sponsoring this post. Learn more about treatment options available at FreedomFromFibroids.com.
Every month, I have to sleep on a towel for an entire week. Years of heavy periods because of uterine fibroids have taught me that it’s a lot cheaper to replace towels than sheets and a mattress cover. It’s annoying, but after 20 years of dealing with fibroids, I’m used to it now.
I know that I can’t wear white pants when I’m on my cycle.
My husband knows that I’ll miss church and other social events when my period is on.
We make sure to keep pain meds on hand because I can’t function through terrible menstrual cramps without them.
This is my life with fibroids. I was in my early twenties when I was first diagnosed with them. My periods had always been heavy, but it had gotten to the point where it was affecting my quality of life. I knew that when my cycle was on, I was out of commission for the entire week. The insane bleeding and the pain kept me in my bed, huddled under the covers with a heating pad on my stomach, taking meds and praying for relief. I would call out of work, and had to cancel plans that I had with friends. For those 7 long days, my life was on pause.
I never really talked to my doctor about it because I thought it was normal. Periods are supposed to suck, right? The topic of my menstrual cycle somehow came up in conversation with my doctor, and she was surprised to know all I was dealing with. After a pap smear and ultrasound, she told me I had fibroids. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in or outside of the uterus. They can be teeny tiny, or large enough to make a woman look like they’re pregnant.
After doing a little research on treatment, I was scared about what the diagnosis would mean for me. I didn’t have any children, yet. I didn’t want to have a hysterectomy. Just about everything I read, though, suggested that getting rid of the uterus was the most effective option for fibroid treatment. Apparently, nearly 1/3 of hysterectomies are treatment for uterine fibroids. I was not willing to lose my uterus, so I started to dig deeper to find an option that worked for me.
Fortunately, my gynecologist was incredibly supportive. She talked to me about the different choices I had for treatment, and we eventually found one that I thought was best for me and my lifestyle. I ended up having a surgery, but there are non-surgical procedures to treat fibroids as well. Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or UFE, is a procedure that lasts less than hour. It blocks the flow of blood to fibroids which deprives them of oxygen and nutrients so they can’t grow. It’s an option that I will definitely consider if my fibroids start to affect me again.
Regardless of the treatment you choose, just know that you don’t have to “lose your u”. Talk to your doctor, let them know your concerns, and get a second opinion if you have to. Although I’m still dealing with fibroids, it’s not as bad as it was. I’ve had two children since my diagnosis years ago. You CAN function in the way that makes sense for your life, even with fibroids.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.