Author: Houston Fibroids

Should You Change Birth Control with Fibroids?

When you are choosing birth control with fibroids, you may need to make a change. Even if your current birth control has been working for years, your fibroid symptoms might mean it’s time for a change. Many women with fibroids choose oral birth control or IUDs. But we know that every woman is different. So it’s important to talk to your doctor about which birth control is best for your needs. An IUD or birth control with fibroids can help heavy periods

Birth Control with Fibroids: What Doesn’t Work

How can you tell if you need to switch your birth control? If you’re experiencing heavy periods, you may want to try a hormone-based birth control option. These include birth control pills and IUDs. Many women find relief from heavy bleeding while they explore fibroid treatment options.

Now, if you have painful cramps, you may want to consider an option such as NuvaRing, which specifically targets this fibroid and PMS symptom.

Keep in mind that you can’t take hormonal birth control if you have a high risk of blood clots or stroke. Also some women with diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers should avoid hormonal birth control. But if you want temporary relief from fibroid symptoms, and don’t have other health concerns, talk to your doctor about switching birth controls.

The Danger in Birth Control

Remember: not every birth control is safe to use. Essure was a permanent birth control device that caused uterine and fallopian tube fibroids. Manufactured by Bayer, the nickel and polyester coil, inserted into a woman’s fallopian tubes, stayed on the market for year. This was a problem since scar tissue formed over the metal coils, permanently blocking your uterus and making pregnancy impossible.

Since it’s 2002 FDA approval, Essure was controversial. For years, Essure users reported devastating side effects. These included cysts and fibroids, plus gastrointestinal, neurological, mental health and blood health complications. In fact, its approval and 2017, women filed over 26,000 Essure complaints with the FDA.

Birth Control with Fibroid Triggers Banned

In spite of all these complaints, Bayer didn’t admit that Essure was unsafe or ineffective. They pulled it off the U.S. market in 2018. But Bayer insisted that the decision was because of declining sales. They never admitted Essure caused major health concerns. Bayer even complained that “inaccurate and misleading” information about Essure contributed to the sales drop!

Even though Essure is no longer available in the U.S., Bayer will likely be dealing with the effects of this device for a long time. Thousands of women have sued Bayer for the devastating Essure side-effects they’ve experienced. Bayer’s response? The company says it “remains strongly committed to women’s health where we have long been a leader. We recognize that women want safe and effective options that best meet their individual needs, and we are committed to continuing our investment, innovation and leadership in this important area of health.” Bayer also plans to enroll women in post-market surveillance programs, and has said it will keep updating the FDA with any relevant health findings from the study.

Here at Houston fibroids, we commit to women’s health by helping you find fibroid relief. If you want to discuss your options about birth control with fibroids, we’re here to give you guidance. And if you want to explore minimally invasive fibroid treatment, for lasting symptom relief, schedule a consultation today!

Sources: Insider Health 

New Warnings About Popular Fibroid Drug

Last year, Health Canada released a health warning about Allergan’s fibroid, Esmya. (The medication is also known as Fibristal.) According to the warning, this fibroid drug can cause a rare but serious liver injury.

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop inside, on or in between the layers of your uterus. There are many different fibroid treatment options. One of which was this popular fibroid drug. Until this new injury discovery.

Dangers in Fibroid Drug

Esmya is an oral medication. It’s purpose? Managing some of your fibroid symptoms. Especially heavy bleeding during your period. Before Health Canada’s warning, doctors prescribed Esmya w for women who were of child-bearing age. It was meant to help you avoid  fibroid surgeries–myomectomy and hysterectomy.

Women who were waiting for surgery and wanted fibroid symptom relief also used Fibristal. While the drug has been widely prescribed in Canada and Europe, the FDA here in the U.S. has declined approval of the drug for use in this country.

After doctors discovered liver injury was possible with this fibroid drug, plans changed. First, doctors decided to limit prescriptions for this fibroid drug. They agreed to only prescribe Fibristal to women with fibroids who wanted to get pregnant.

Even for those women, doctors limited their prescriptions. Women were warned not to refill their fibroid drug. And, of course, women with histories of liver problems couldn’t take Fibristal.

Recently, we’ve seen a new development in the fibroid drug saga. On September 30, manufacturer AbbVie Inc. took Fibristal off the Canadian market. As Houston fibroid specialists, we celebrate this decision. And we’re happy to help you find safer fibroid treatment options.

Other Alternatives to Fibroid Surgery

We understand wanting to avoid fibroid surgery. It’s a big deal to have a myomectomy (surgical removal of the tumor.) And a bigger deal to get a hysterectomy (removing your entire uterus). Both procedures come with a hospital stay. Not to mention a long recovery.

Even with potentially serious complications, a fibroid drug isn’t the solution. That’s also true for young women with fibroid symptoms. Want a better choice? In our Houston area office, we provide a minimally-invasive fibroid treatment. Now, it comes with no down time and you can get treatment in our office.

While UFE isn’t right for everyone, it’s a treatment option worth considering. Especially since it offers a non-medicinal, non-surgical solution for fibroid sufferers. If you’re currently investigating fibroid treatment options, be sure to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fox or Dr. Hardee. Then, we’ll help you learn whether Uterine Fibroid Embolization is the right option for you.

Sources: Health Canada, Nasdaq

3 Need to Know Facts on Pregnancy and Fibroids Location

Have you ever wondered about problems with pregnancy and fibroids? When you learn that you have fibroids, it means that you have a non-cancerous tumor in your uterus. And, since your uterus is a large, layered organ, we classify and name fibroids based on where in your uterus they develop.

In case you need a review: your uterus has three layers: the outer serosa; the middle, muscular myometrium; and the inner lining—the endometrium. This endometrium is the lining that you shed each month during your period.

Now that you’ve got the anatomy down, we’ll get to classifying fibroids. There are three different types of fibroids.
1. Uterine fibroids that develop beneath the outside covering of the womb are called sub-serosal.

2. If they form in your uterine muscle, they are intramural.

3. And if fibroids pop up in your uterine cavity, inside the endometrium, they are submucosal.

Many women find it difficult to become pregnant while they have untreated fibroids. But, if you do become pregnant, the location of your fibroids can make a major difference in your ability to carry your child to term.

Sub Mucosal Fibroids and Pregnancy

When it comes to pregnancy and fibroids, tumors that develop in your womb can have the greatest impact on your pregnancy. If the fibroid is large enough to change the shape of your womb, you may experience pregnancy complications. Common side effects include, spotting and pain. Your fetal growth could be limited, because fibroids take up too much space in your uterus. With pregnancy and fibroids, your risk for premature delivery and miscarriage also increases. And during your pregnancy, you’re also at risk for placental abruption (when your placenta detaches from your uterus.)

In some cases, your fibroid may require you to have a C-section. That’s because its growth can alter your baby’s position, or block off your delivery pathway.

Getting Pregnant with Fibroids

Sometimes, the location of your fibroid can make it difficult to become pregnant. In fact, we find fibroids in between 5% – 10% of women with infertility. The most common culprits? Fibroids that are inside your uterine cavity (submucosal). You may also have trouble getting pregnant with very large intramural fibroids (the ones within the wall of your uterus.)

Luckily, most women with fibroids can still become pregnant. But if you have fibroids and plan to get pregnant, you should receive a thorough medical evaluation. After all, fibroids can impact your fertility in several ways.

They can changes your cervix shape, limiting the number of sperm that enter your uterus. Depending on location, fibroids can also change your uterine shape, getting in the way of sperm or fertilized embryos. Some fibroids may block your fallopian tubes, which keeps your egg from traveling to your uterus for fertilization. Also, fibroids can impact your endometrial lining, making it harder for embryos to implant. This problem is further complicated if fibroid affect blood flow to your uterine cavity. Why? Limited blood makes it even tougher for embryos to implant in your uterus.

So, that’s what you need to watch out for when you’re trying to conceive. Or when you’re dealing with pregnancy  and fibroids. But here’s some good news for you. Most fibroids don’t grow during pregnancy. In fact, with your changing hormone levels, some fibroids may even shrink while you’re pregnant.  Still, given the potential risks to you and your growing baby, you should talk to your healthcare provider about your fibroids if you want to become or already are pregnant.

Sources: American Society for Reproductive Medicine

#WCW: WWE Star Needs Alternative to Fibroid Surgery

Recently, we learned that WWE star Naomi had a myomectomy, and we wish she could have found an alternative to fibroid surgery. The fierce wrestler announced on her Instagram: “In the midst of hurricane Sally and COVID I also underwent an unexpected 6 hour surgery to finally remove a massive fibroid that’s caused me severe anemia fatigue horrible abdominal pains and more problems I don’t even want to mention over the past year and a half. I’m recovering well. I’m relieved and already feeling so much better. So family and fans don’t worry, I’m ok. Lol, miss ya.” WWE Naomi Talks about fibroid surgery

First, let’s be clear: we’re happy Naomi found relief. And we applaud her as our Woman Crush of the week for bravely sharing her story. But we also wish she’d learned about other options before her fibroid got so large. Because we believe that there need to be more alternatives to fibroid surgery in this country. Too many women with fibroids—non-cancerous tumors of the uterus—get hysterectomies (complete uterus removal). In fact, fibroids are the top reason women in the U.S. get hysterectomies. Because it’s such a serious surgery, many women opt for less invasive fibroid treatments. In our office, we offer Uterine Fibroid Embolization, a non-surgical treatment that shrinks your fibroids.

Oral and Minimally Invasive Alternatives to Fibroid Surgery

Recently, the FDA approved a new oral medication for women with fibroids, that’s expected to be available later this month. Called Oriahnn, the pill combines estrogen, progestin, and elagolix (a gonadotropin-releasing hormone). It’s important to note that this pill doesn’t shrink your fibroids. Instead, it decreases fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding.

How effective is this pill? A recent study highlights the effects of elagolix, just one piece of the new drug’s puzzle.  Over the course of two and a half years, they followed 433 women who had fibroids and heavy menstrual bleeding. 67% of participating women were African American, since black women are disproportionately affected by fibroids.

oral alternatives to fibroid surgery

Women who took elagolix did get relief from heavy periods, but they also suffered hot flashes, night sweats, and bone loss. In contrast, 90% of the women who took a mix of elagolix, estradiol and norethindrone acetate (“add-back therapy”) experienced reduced blood loss, but with fewer side effects. The “Add-back” therapy combatted effects of stopping estrogen and progestin, as Oriahnn does. Some of these women saw their uterus size decrease. But their fibroids did not shrink.

Also, this pill won’t prevent pregnancy, even though it’s hormonal. And, studies note that taking the medication can cause long-term bone loss. Which means that you can’t take the pill for more than two years. That leads us to the question: what next? Unfortunately, once you stop taking this pill, your fibroid symptoms would return, sending you back to the start of your treatment journey. And, since they don’t want that journey to end in a hysterectomy, researchers at Michigan State University are trying to figure out why fibroids form in the first place. Because, in doing so, they hope to keep every woman from being pushed towards hysterectomy because of fibroid tumors.

Genes and Fibroids: The Newly Discovered Connection

In the course of this study, researchers at MSU’s College of Human Medicine discovered that HOXA13, a gene associated with fibroids, was connected to a process, known as homeotic transformation, that causes uterine muscle cells to turn into cells more typically found inside your cervix.

“It’s a cell type in a position where it doesn’t belong,” explained lead researcher Dr. Jose Teixeira said. “This was a surprise.”

Katy Fibroid Clinic
New research on fibroids could drastically reduce the number of women who are treated with hysterectomies.

But this discovery isn’t just informative: it could change the way we treat fibroids. Specifically, new treatments could target the chain of events that causes your cells to change. That way, you could treat existing tumors with less invasive treatments, such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization. Then, you could use molecular therapy to prevent any  new tumors from forming.

As Teixeira explains, “The discovery that fibroid tumors have characteristics of cervical cells could be a key to better treatments. For example, among pregnant women, the cervix typically softens just before delivery. Figuring out what causes the cervix to soften could suggest new therapies that soften the fibroid tumors and prevent or inhibit their growth.” And, if that works out, you could eliminate any hysterectomy discussions!

What’s Next for Fibroid Research?

While new therapies are still going to take a while, this research is already changing the way scientists study fibroids. Now, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding a follow-up fibroid study.  It’s focus? Texeira says he wants to discover: “Is there a place where we can intervene? That’s the follow-up. If we can find out what’s causing the cervical softening, then we might be able to investigate treatment.” And that could stop fibroid growth before a tumor ever forms.

Sources: Bleacher Report, Harvard Health, National Library of MedicineFDA.Gov, Cell Reports Journal

Reality Check: When Do You Need a Hysterectomy?

So many women in this country get unnecessary hysterectomies! Every year, about 600,000 American women undergo this procedure. (And some estimates say 33% of all women in the U.S. will have a hysterectomy by the time they turn 60!) That’s scary news, since a hysterectomy (the complete removal of your  uterus) is a really big deal. But are there cases when hysterectomies are a must? Let’s take a closer look!

What’s a Hysterectomy?  Even with multiple fibroids, hysterectomy can be avoided

As we said, with a hysterectomy you lose your uterus. But there are different versions of this surgery. In an oophorectomy, doctors remove your ovaries. And with salpingectomy, you only lose your fallopian tubes. Need a hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy? That means your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries all have to go.

You may need a partial, total or radical hysterectomies. Partial hysterectomies preserve your cervix. Total hysterectomies don’t. And radical hysterectomies take your whole uterus, cervix and the top part of your vagina.

There are several different ways to perform a hysterectomy. The procedure your surgeon uses will depend on the your individual needs. Options include going through your vagina or your abdomen. Or, in some cases, you could have a laparoscopic hysterectomy. That means your doctor could perform this procedure through a tiny incision, using minute telescopes to help see your uterus and safely remove it.

Why are Hysterectomies so Common?

Do 600,000 women a year REALLY need to lose their uterus? As minimally invasive fibroid treatment specialists, we know the answer is “no.” So why is this procedure so common? Unfortunately, a lot of factors play into the over-prevalence of hysterectomies.

First, this procedure has been around for years. So surgeons feel very comfortable performing hysterectomies. And they typically know what the surgical outcome will be, meaning less chances of unpleasant surprises. In contrast, less invasive options such as UFE are relatively new. Many doctors still aren’t familiar with these techniques, so they are less likely to recommend them as options.

And the problem doesn’t stop there. Research suggests that Black women are four times more likely to have a hysterectomy than White women. And they have hysterectomies more often than women of any other race. Yes, this could be tied to the higher incidence of fibroids in women of color. But it also has lots to do with healthcare inequality in this country. Which is something we can’t allow to keep happening.

When Do You NEED a Hysterectomy?

Hysterectomies are appropriate when you’re facing a life-threatening condition. So, if you have cancers of the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix or vagina, you may need one. It may be necessary if a woman’s uterus ruptures during childbirth, or if her post-delivery bleeding is life threatening. In some cases, women with severe PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) will need this surgery.

So, that’s when you really need a hysterectomy. But there are other times when hysterectomies are also considered. Many women with fibroids and endometriosis are told they need to remove their uterus to get relief. And, while this may sometimes be true, other women can avoid this major surgery with less invasive treatment options. In our opinions, as Houston fibroid specialists, if there are treatments that could help women avoid hysterectomies, that should be the first line of defense. Except in cases of emergency, hysterectomies should be the last option your physician recommends.

Looking to treat your fibroids with a less invasive option? Our Houston area fibroid specialists are here to help! Schedule a consultation with our team, to see if you’re a good candidate for an alternative to hysterectomy!

Sources: CDC, Shape Magazine

#WCW: Living with Heavy Periods

When you’re dealing with uterine fibroids, you may also experience heavy periods. And your periods could last longer than the typical seven days. Obviously, this can be uncomfortable and, at times, inconvenient. But if you’re thinking that it’s just annoying, think again. As it turns out, heavy periods can actually affect other areas of your health.  heavy periods change your life

Recently, one woman spoke to Popsugar about heavy periods making them miss work and school. Did you know that up to 14% of women have to call in sick because of their periods? And a whopping 80% were less productive during menstruation, because of symptoms like cramps or pelvic pain?

Unfortunately, this is especially true for Black women. Because they are at higher risk for fibroids, they are also more likely to experience painful, heavy periods. But they are also less likely to face sympathetic physicians. That’s exactly what happened to 24-year-old Ariel, who bravely shared her experiences regarding that time of the month, making her our Woman Crush this week.

After months of extreme period pain, Ariel finally opened up to her doctor. Yet  she wasn’t taken seriously. “You see this happen way too often to Black women,” Ariel told POPSUGAR. “The time I did decide to tell a doctor about my period pain and nausea, I was prescribed ibuprofen and some medication for the nausea, which made me more nauseous.” According to her interviewers, she was never examined for fibroids or for other potential causes of her period pain.

As Houston fibroid specialists, we want to help women take control of their health. Which is why we’re here today, guiding you through symptoms. So you can know what’s normal, and when it’s time to see a specialist.

How Do I Know if My Periods Are Abnormal?

It’s easy to say that a heavy period could be cause for concern. But it can be difficult to quantify what “heavy” really means. Flow varies from woman to woman, so any major change could be problematic. As a general rule of thumb, however, your bleeding is excessively heavy if:

  • There are less than 21 days between your periods (longer than 35 days between cycles is also unusual, but this would not be considered a problem of excess bleeding)
  • Periods last longer than 7 days
  • You pass large clots during your period (anything bigger than the size of a quarter warrants a discussion with your doctor)
  • You’re losing more than 80 cc of blood. (Of course, no one expects you to actually measure your blood loss. But if you’re soaking through super tampons or pads in an hour or less, chances are you’re losing too much blood.)

My Period is Too Heavy – What Do I Do Now?

If you think that your periods are too heavy, talk to your doctor right away. Make an appointment with your gyno, even if it’s not time for your annual exam. Here’s why: heavy periods can lead to anemia, a condition that sets in when you don’t have enough iron in your blood. Anemia needs to be addressed immediately, because it can affect your body’s ability to carry oxygen to your extremities. Over time, it can also lead to iron deficiency which, in turn, can affect the body’s bone marrow response. Additionally, anemia can cause symptoms like fatigue, weakness, dizziness, pain, headaches, cold hands and feet, chest pain and even heart attacks.

Once you mention heavy bleeding to your doctor, he or she will likely suggest an anemia screening, to make sure you’re staying ahead of the issue. But it’s also important to try and determine the cause of your heavy bleeding, or else your continued blood loss will likely keep you in an anemic state.

Fibroids and Heavy Periods

Uterine fibroids  can develop within the uterine lining (submucosal), the uterine muscle (intramural) or outside the uterine lining (subserosal.) Submucosal fibroids may increase the area of the lining, which gives you more blood to shed each month. These fibroids may also hinder your body’s ability to stop bleeding once it starts.

Intramural fibroids can increase the blood flow that reaches your uterus. They can also expand the size of your uterine cavity, thereby increasing bleeding.

If fibroids are causing your heavy flow, you’ll have to treat your fibroids them to stop the excessive bleeding. Be sure and discuss all your treatment options, both surgical and minimally invasive, when deciding how best to address your fibroids and heavy mentrual flow.

Sources: Popsugar, The Center for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, The Centers for Disease Control 

 

Foods to Help Fibroids and What Not to Eat

While there is no foolproof way to avoid fibroids, once you have been diagnosed with these benign tumors, there are certain foods that may help. And there are others to avoid, since dietary changes may help keep tumor growth in check.

Why is this the case? Balancing your hormone levels can help manage fibroid development and symptoms since hormones, particularly estrogen, are one of the leading causes of new fibroid development and growth. And one easy, non-invasive way to balance your hormones is through simple changes in your diet.

 

Foods to Avoid with Fibroids

If you are trying to manage your fibroids and maintain or shrink their current size, balancing your hormones naturally is a great first step. Your diet has a strong influence on your hormone levels, which is why it’s one of the first (and easiest) areas to apply changes.

For best results in managing your fibroids, try restricting the following food and drinks from your diet:

  • High-Fat, Processed Meats – Red processed meat is known to be high in added hormones, particularly estrogen.
  • High-Fat Dairy Products – Conventional dairy can contain high levels of steroids, hormones, and other chemicals that promote inflation.
  • Foods High in Salt – Highly salted foods are hard on your liver, which is the organ that is most responsible for removing toxins and balancing hormones.
  • Refined Carbohydrates – White foods such as pasta, white bread, white rice, cakes, and cookies have been known to alter estrogen levels, causing fibroids to increase in size.
  • Soy. Soy contains phytoestrogens. These are compounds that act like estrogen in your body. While this may be helpful if you battle low estrogen levels, they are a fibroid challenge. That’s because high estrogen levels seem to boost fibroid growth.
  • Refined Sugar – High consumption of sugar can result in inflammation and weight gain; there is an association between weight gain and hormone imbalance.
  • Caffeine – Too much caffeine puts additional stress on your liver, discouraging the organ from working the way it should (think: balancing hormones!)
  • Alcohol – Over-consumption of alcohol can lead to inflammation of the body and reduced immune function. Reducing or eliminating alcohol can help promote a healthy balance of hormones.

Best Foods to Eat With Fibroids

If you’re already feeling restricted just looking at the list above, don’t panic: there are so many options that can help you fill the gaps you’re eliminating. Added bonus? They may just help improve your general health while helping keep fibroids in check:

Foods for fibroids

  • Organic foods
  • High fiber foods, including cruciferous veggies like broccoli
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beta-carotene rich foods (such as carrots and sweet potatoes). These can also help boost your fertility, something that can be impacted by fibroid growth.
  • Food high in iron (such as grass-fed beef and legumes)
  • Flaxseeds
  • Whole grains
  • Citrus like apples and oranges. Studies show that women who eat two or more servings of citrus fruit each day lower their fibroid risk.

Supplements may also help shrink or maintain fibroid size. Vitex, fish oil, and B-complex are a few supplements that have been known for creating a better hormone balance. Additionally, the fatty acids in fish oil (or cold water fish) may help fight inflammation that could contribute to fibroid growth. Be sure to speak with your physician before introducing new supplements into your diet.

Fibroid Friendly Recipe

Want to cook up something that may help your fibroids? Try this delicious recipe, courtesy of the Food Network.

Ingredients

  • Rainbow carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Chives

Directions
Toss 3 bunches baby rainbow carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt on a baking sheet; arrange in a single layer. Roast at 450 degrees F, turning once, until tender and slightly browned, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and chopped chives.

When Your Diet Isn’t Enough to Control Your Fibroids

Your diet and lifestyle can only do so much in your attempt to manage your fibroids. If you suffer from common fibroid symptoms such as heavy periods, bloating, frequent urination, constipation, and pelvic pain, Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) may be the next best option.

UFE is a low-risk, minimally-invasive procedure for the treatment of uterine fibroids. Women commonly choose UFE over a hysterectomy for fibroid removal as it avoids surgery, preserves the uterus, controls symptoms, and improves quality of life.

Contact us at (713) 575-3686 for more information, or to schedule an appointment with our interventional radiologists at Houston Fibroids.

Sources:  Journal of Human Reproduction, webmd.com, foodnetwork.com

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Inside Kamala Harris’ Fibroid Bill

Just before her big VP news, Kamala Harris introduced a new fibroid bill.  Why? After all these years, we still don’t know why women develop these non-cancerous tumors. Thankfully, the Senator’s bill to fund fibroid research and education will change all that.

Senator Harris told Refinery 29, “Millions of women across the country are affected by uterine fibroids, which can present serious health complications. (These include) maternal mortality and morbidity, an ongoing crisis, especially for Black women.”

And she continued. “We have an opportunity to change that with the Uterine Fibroids Research and Education Act. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman [Yvette] Clarke to ensure that women get the care, support, and knowledge they need.”

The Gap in Fibroid Research  Funding fibroid research to narrow the Black woman's healthcare gap

Here’s the problem. Up to 80% of women develop fibroids before they turn 50. In fact, 26 million women between the ages of 15 and 50 have uterine fibroids now. And more than 15 million have painful fibroid symptoms.

But we still don’t know why. Further complicating the problem? Black women develop fibroids more frequently. But they face a healthcare gap. Doctors often discount or downplay their pain and symptoms.

Fibroids look different in every woman. But common symptoms include pelvic pain and long, heavy periods; You may have constipation and/or frequent urination. Bloating and painful intercourse are also signs of fibroids. In some cases, you may go years without  experiencing symptoms. Other times, your fibroids cause trouble immediately. Again, it’s not clear why some women’s fibroids stay small. But other women’s growths disrupt their lives.

Finding a Way Forward

Representative Clarke says, “This bill is an important first step towards making women’s healthcare a priority. Many women who suffer from uterine fibroids have their condition go undiagnosed as a result of a lack of education about the disease. Each year, approximately 7 million women in the U.S. suffer the symptoms of fibroids … This disease has ravaged the lives of women across the country, and increasing funding for research and public education related to fibroids is critical to reversing that trend. If we are serious about fixing inequities in our healthcare system, then we must treat uterine fibroids with the funding and attention it deserves.”

What’s Included in Senator Harris’ Fibroid Bill Houston Fibroids Specialists support the fibroid bill

To that end, the new bill asks to give the National Institutes of Health (NIH) $30 million each year, for the next five years. The purpose?  To expand uterine fibroids research, create a uterine fibroids public education program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to expand and improve data collection on which groups are affected by uterine fibroids, among other aims.

It directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to prove information on available services for women who experience fibroid symptoms.

Finally, the bills asks the Health Resources and Service Administration to arm health care providers with  fibroid information. These materials should highlight that women of color have elevated fibroid risks. And should include information on all available treatment options, including minimally invasive protocols like UFE.

The bill is supported by the Black Women’s Health Imperative, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners, the Fibroid Foundation, and many other organizations.

Strong Support for Fibroid Education

While the bill has many supporters, one key group of backers is The White Dress Project. We’ve talked about this organization quite a bit on the blog, because its goals align with our own: to help women understand all their treatment options.

So, today, we thank Senator Harris, Representative Clarke and all the women and organizations who advance fibroid awareness. And we invite you to explore all your fibroid treatment options before settling on an invasive surgery like a hysterectomy.

Sources: Yahoo!Life, Refinery 29

5 Tips to Fight Fibroids (and 4 things to Avoid)

Our Houston fibroid practice can fight fibroids with minimally invasive treatments such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization. And we are proud to offer you relief from painful symptoms like long, heavy periods. But we also know that it takes time to decide how to treat your uterine tumors. And, in the meantime, you may improve your symptoms with easy lifestyle changes.

And here’s a bonus fact: no matter what, these fibroid-fighting tips should boost your general health, too. So you’ll feel better long after you find a lasting solution to these non-cancerous growths.

5 Moves to Fight Fibroids fight fibroids with lifestyle changes

Want to stop fibroids from getting bigger? Or help manage your fibroid symptoms? Try these five lifestyle changes!

1.       Add fruits and veggies to your diet. Studies suggest that fruits such as apples and tomatoes, and  veggies like broccoli and cabbage, could lower your risk of developing fibroids. Already got fibroids? Guess what: a healthier diet, packed with fruits, vegetables and lots of whole-grains  could minimize your symptoms or even prevent fibroid growth.

2.       Watch your blood pressure, since research suggests a link between fibroid growth and elevated blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help keep blood pressure under control. But you may also need to see your doctor if lifestyle measures can’t help you maintain a normal blood pressure.

3.       Manage stress. No one knows why some women develop fibroids while others don’t. But some studies suggest your stress levels could impact fibroid development. Focusing on self-care and soothing exercise routines, including yoga and meditation, can help you keep the stress monster off your back.

4.       Take care. Sometimes, just taking a rest in a comfy position can help relieve your fibroid pain. Try propping your legs up with a pillow or pulling your knees into your chest to get pressure off your pelvis and back.

5.       Consider supplements such as Vitamin D, which studies suggest may lower your fibroid risk. You may also find that certain forms of birth control can help relieve fibroid symptoms. But talk to your doctor before adding any new supplement or medication to your routine, especially if you’re already dealing with a pre-existing health condition.

What Not to Do with Fibroids

If you’ve got fibroids already, some lifestyle moves could actually make your symptoms worse. Here’s four things you should NEVER do if you’re living with fibroids:

1.       Eat processed foods, red meat, and high-fat dairy products, as well as caffeine and alcohol. Studies suggest that including these in your diet could make your fibroid symptoms.

2.       Skip workouts. Exercise may feel like its too much when you have fibroid pain. But studies link weekly exercise with lowered fibroid risks. So keep up the sweat, even when you don’t feel like it.

3.       Load up on sugar. Diets high in sugar are linked to increased fibroid risks.

4.       Smoke. While cigarettes are bad for every aspect of your health, it’s also likely to make your period pain worse, since it limits oxygen flow to your pelvic region.

Need more help managing fibroid pain? We’re here for you! Schedule your fibroid consultation today, so our Houston area specialists can help you find a fibroid fighting solution that works for your lifestyle.

Sources: WebMD

Why You Can’t Ignore Pink Vaginal Discharge

For women, vaginal discharge is part of a normal monthly cycle. It changes in amount, color and texture at different times in the month. But when that color changes to pink, it could be a sign of a bigger problem brewing. Keep reading to learn more.

Pink Vaginal Discharge and Your Health

Pink vaginal discharge usually contains trace amounts of blood. And bleeding outside of your period could be a sign of a problem.

If you are experiencing pink discharge, you should see your doctor right away. The color and spotting could mean that you have:

  1. Uterine Fibroids. Pink discharge could indicate that you are spotting (bleeding outside of your period), and fibroids (non-cancerous tumors) are known to cause abnormal bleeding. So if you are regularly seeing pink outside of your period, it is worth discussing a fibroid screening with your OBGYN.
  2. Uterine Polyps. Like fibroids, polyps are non-cancerous growths. But while fibroids develop in or on your uterus, polyps develop in endometrial tissue before extending into the uterus. If pink discharge comes after sex, it could be a sign you have polyps, since intercourse can bump these growths, causing some blood to mingle with your discharge.
  3.  Ovarian cysts. These are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries. When they resolve on their own, cysts don’t typically cause symptoms. But when they keep growing and become large, they may cause abnormal bleeding–and pink discharge!
  4. Infections. Pink discharge could also be a sign of an infection in your vagina. Potential causes could be an STI (sexually transmitted infection) or vaginitis.
  5.  Pregnancy, including ectopic. When a fertilized egg implants itself in your uterine wall, you may bleed a little, causing pink discharge. But when that egg implants outside your uterus, in your fallopian tubes, pink discharge will also likely appear, along with other symptoms like sharp pain, dizziness, weakness and even fainting.

Because pink discharge could indicate so many different conditions, it’s important to bring up this change with your doctor. The only way to know the cause is to investigate with your medical care provider.

What about Pink Menstrual Blood? pink period flow isn't always typical

Sometimes, pink discharge isn’t a between-periods problem. At certain points during your period, your flow may become thin, light and pale pink instead of red in color. Often, this is a normal development. Your flow tends to be lighter at the end of your period. And many women experience a light, pale flow in the first day of their periods, too.

Other times, however, this change in color could mean you have a health problem. If you have low estrogen levels, your period flow may appear more pink than red. Or, if it’s just a lighter red, almost diluted, it could be a sign of anemia. And, since anemia is a common side effect of fibroids, this should be a sign it’s time to see your gynecologist.

Now, we know that some of these changes in your discharge or flow may be subtle. So we don’t want you to spend your time analyzing your personal rainbow of colors. Instead, try this advice as a guideline. Pay attention to your body’s personal ‘normal.’ Then, if you notice a change that seems out of the ordinary, bring it up with your doctor at your next check up, just to rule out problems. Just remember: if any of these changes cause you severe pain, or interfere with your daily life, don’t wait around for your next annual visit. Instead, schedule an appointment with your Houston fibroid specialists right away: you should never wait around for help!

 

Sources: Medical News Today, yourtango.com, Baby Gaga

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