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Living with Fibroids

fibroids, living, Capital Women’s Care in Arlington and McLean, Virginia

Even though they’re non-cancerous, fibroids can cause symptoms that range from mild to disabling. They’re incredibly common. In fact, by some estimates, as many as 80% of women are thought to have these uterine growths. Sometimes fibroids go unnoticed, but a lot of women experience pain and other uncomfortable symptoms for days at a time.

If you’re living with the pain and discomfort of uterine fibroids, treatment is available from our providers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are the most frequent female reproductive tumors we see at Capital Women’s Care in Arlington and McLean, Virginia. Although they’re not always diagnosed, most women will develop fibroids by the age of 50. More than 99% of the time these tumors are non-cancerous. Women with minimal symptoms find ways to cope and reduce the impact on their everyday life. But if you have moderate-to-severe symptoms, consider visiting our team to discuss treatment options.

As with many conditions, the exact cause of fibroids is unclear. Some studies suggest a genetic component to the development of fibroids. We do know that women with family members who have fibroids are at an increased risk of developing the growths themselves. Fibroids are also more common in African American women, and being overweight or obese increases your risk as well.

Symptoms of fibroids

Not every woman who develops fibroids will require treatment. Some women experience no symptoms at all.

Women who do suffer with symptoms report:

Women with fibroids may take longer to become pregnant than women without these tumors. However, having fibroids doesn’t mean you’ll experience fertility issues.

What is it like to live with fibroids?

Fibroids can cause pain and grow large enough to visibly distend the stomach. In these situations, leaving fibroids untreated can be problematic. Women living with symptomatic fibroids know how they can make life miserable, causing a number of problems like these:

Painful periods

At the first sign of your period, fibroids can cause you to double over in pain. Some women describe the pain as feeling so intense that it causes them to miss work and delay their daily priorities. Some women experience intense, throbbing contractions that leave them in bed for days at a time.

Heavy flow

Fibroids can cause bleeding so heavy that you soak through pads and tampons every hour or two. The heavy bleeding can deplete your iron levels and leave you feeling exhausted and out of sorts. It can get so severe that simply walking up a flight of stairs can cause you to feel out of breath. Some women with fibroids develop iron deficiency anemia and require iron supplements.

Prolonged bleeding

Some women with fibroids have periods that seem like they never end. You may bleed for several more days than is considered normal, or you may experience a short cycle where your period seems to return shortly after it ends.

Emotional toll

The symptoms of fibroids can take their toll, leaving women feeling grumpy and depressed. Regularly missing work, school, and social activities can be taxing on your emotional health. Feeling like you’re letting your boss and colleagues down, having to cancel arrangements with family and friends, and missing out on activities you enjoy can have a serious impact on your quality of life. Having large fibroids that cause bloating or stomach distention can make women feel differently about their bodies and impact their body image.

Treatment for fibroids

Self-help strategies, such as yoga, meditation, and getting more exercise, can help ease some of the symptoms of fibroids. Your treatment options depend on your symptoms. There’s no single best treatment for fibroids. Finding a treatment that works for you requires a multifaceted approach. Noninvasive, minimally-invasive, and traditional surgeries are available to treat fibroids, as are hormonal therapies.

The team at Capital Women’s Care is here to help you find a fibroid treatment that’s right for you. To discuss treatment options, call one of our offices in Arlington or McLean, Virginia, to schedule an appointment or book a visit online.

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