Category: Fibroid Symptoms

Important Health Notice: Stress May Impact Fibroids

Even in normal times, life is stressful. But when you’re in the middle of a global pandemic? That stress is multiplied and magnified to entirely new levels. Of course, that’s a problem for so many reasons. But, for our purposes, we’ll just focus on one: stress may increase your fibroid risk. In a minute, we’ll explore this idea further. First, however, we’ll give you a quick fibroid overview so we’re all on the same page.

What are fibroids? Female with Fibroids

Fibroid tumors are firm, muscular, uterine growths. We classify (and name them)  based on their location in or on your uterus. If they’re inside your uterus, they’re called submucosal. When they grow on your outer uterine surface, they’re subserosal. Fibroids in the muscles of your uterine wall are intramural, and fibroids that grow like stalks outside your uterus are pedunculated.

Fibroids also vary widely in size. Some are so small they go undetected, or cause no symptoms. But others are much larger, or develop in groups. When this happens, you’re likely to experience troubling symptoms such as pain, heavy periods, anemia, pregnancy complications or even infertility. That’s why we recommend treating your fibroids with a minimally invasive procedure such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization. And it’s also why we’re helping you understand why you get fibroids in the first place.

Why do Fibroids Develop?

Unfortunately, we don’t truly know what causes fibroid development. But we do know they impact black women more than any other group. And, research now suggests that stress may be associated with an increased fibroid risk, in addition to other factors we’ve already identified, including family history, and exposure to the chemicals within hair relaxers.  

In combination, these factors can help you understand your fibroid risk. And understanding that stress increases your risk means now is a good moment to check in with your reproductive health. If you notice symptoms such as pelvic pain, frequent urination, or long and/or heavy periods, don’t wait. Seek help right away from a fibroid specialist. Don’t want to leave your house? No problem! Our Houston Fibroids team is offering remote fibroid consultations, via the secure Doxy platform. But we can also see you in our office if you need a procedure. Now, what kind of procedure will depend on your selected treatment preference. So let’s explore your best fibroid treatment plans.

How Should I Treat Fibroids?

All too often, you’ll hear that hysterectomy is the best fibroid treatment. But that’s actually not true for every woman. In fact, many women can find relief from fibroid symptoms with UFE, a minimally invasive procedure which cuts off fibroid blood supply. This effectively kills the tumors. All without surgery, and all while preserving your uterus!

Of course, some women may prefer a myomectomy—the surgical removal of individual fibroids. If this is your choice, just exercise caution. If your doctor wants to perform laparoscopic surgery, just say no to morcellators. They majorly increase your risk for uterine cancer.

What we really want you to understand is this. We’re living in stressful times. And that can hurt your health in so many ways. But don’t feel like you need to delay treating pressing health issues, just to avoid Coronavirus. There are real, concrete ways we can help you manage fibroids, all while preserving social distancing. So, if you’re in pain, reach out for help. Request a Telemedicine appointment with our fibroid specialists and we’ll put you on the path to relief. All while protecting you from unnecessary surgeries!

 

Sources: Journal of Women’s Health Issues. Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

Can I Get Help, Even Now, For Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

While pelvic pain, incontinence and uterine fibroids often go hand in hand, these are also red flags for other serious conditions. One such problem is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS), a medical problem that is triggered by internal varicose veins in your lower abdomen and pelvis. fibroids treatment

Typically, these veins are in your ovaries. They form with vein reflux (when blood flows backwards in your veins). The kind of pelvic pain connected with PCS is more of a chronic ache; some women describe the sensation of someone tugging or pulling in their pelvis.

PCS is a long-term condition, meaning symptoms will stick around, but with this problem, the pain can be made worse when you first stand up or first sit down. Lying down, on the other hand, can provide relief from the pain of PCS.

In addition to pain in your pelvis, PCS can trigger an irritable bowel and/or bladder and painful sex. PCS may also cause visible varicose veins to appear in or around your vulva, vagina, perineum and anus.

While PCS is fairly common, it is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms mimic other conditions, and the root cause of the problem is buried deep within your body. Here’s what you need to know about PCS in order to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment:

What is PCS? 

When too much blood builds up in your pelvic, you develop the painful PCS condition. And internal varicose veins are often at fault. Individuals with PCS will experience a dull, aching pelvis period over an extended period of time. Women are more likely to develop PCS than men, but both genders can be affected.

When men are affected by PCS, the condition is easier to diagnose and treat, because two of men’s four pelvic veins are visible on the outside of their bodies. Because all of women’s pelvic veins are invisible on the surface of their bodies, PCS can be harder to spot for women. Most women with PCS have previously been pregnant, but even women who’ve never had a pregnancy can develop the condition.

Why does Pelvic Congestion Syndrome develop?

As we already mentioned, PCS develops because of varicose pelvic veins. Varicose veins in the pelvis begin to develop when their valves fail, causing blood that should be pushed out of the pelvis to stick around in the area instead of traveling back to the heart. When this happens, the veins become dilated and put pressure on sensitive areas of the pelvis and on the pelvic floor muscles (the ones you exercise when doing your kegels.)

What are the symptoms of PCS?

PCS usually causes women to experience pain deep in their pelvis or uterus; the pain is usually dull or aching rather than sharp or intense. PCS pain gets worse all day, especially if you exercise. 

While PCS pain is typically dull, changes in posture or heavy lifting can cause women to experience sharp pains in their abdominal area. With PCS, sex and periods can also become more painful.

Some women with PCS also have bladder symptoms that include a frequent need to pee, frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom and even incontinence. Many women will also develop vaginal or vulvar varicose veins.

Can I treat PCS?

We typically diagnose PCS with an ultrasound scan. And we can still perform in-office procedures right now, so you can find relief.  Then, your Houston interventional radiologists treat PCS easily, with Pelvic Vein Embolisation (PVE). We use a local anesthetic for this x-ray technique. Guided by ultrasound, we’ll insert a catheter (thin tube) in your vein, pushing in the problematic pelvic vein. Once there, we deposit embolizing material to permanently block off the vein or veins causing your PCS symptoms. After, blood can’t build up in the area. Your vein will shrink and symptoms should resolve quickly.

With proper care and a minimally invasive procedure, we can quickly treat and resolve PCS. Our highly train vein specialists can easily spot your PCS symptoms and recommend a treatment plan. If you’re experiencing dull, aching pelvis pain, you should schedule a consultation right away. We can even meet remotely, with a Telemedicine appointment. You don’t have to live with chronic pelvis pain—you just need to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment plan!

Sources: www.Cedars-Sinai.Org

Even in a Pandemic, Don’t Live with Period Problems. Seek Remote Care!

So many people are too shy or embarrassed to talk about their periods, and that’s a big problem: if you don’t speak up, you may worry needlessly or you may never identify symptoms that indicate a bigger medical problem. In order to help you navigate this sensitive subject, we’re breaking down what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your monthly visitor. Keep in mind, however, that every woman’s cycle is different, so it’s worth mentioning any major changes to your OBGYN, even if they are seemingly within the normal range. 

And it’s very important to note that, if you are experiencing any of these concerns about your period, you don’t have to wait for relief. We can help you, right now, with a Telemedicine (remote) visit. So, now we’ve got that straight let’s have a quick review of the period basics.

What is your period?

A period is the shedding of your uterine lining. This lining builds up over the course of the month in preparation for pregnancy. “If you don’t get pregnant, your hormone levels drop, and the lining separates from your uterus. That’s when you experience the bleeding known as your period.

Bleeding

Normal: Women’s periods are typically heavier at the start of their cycle, and gradually become lighter.

Not Normal: If you have to change your pad or tampon more than every few hours; if you are bleeding 

through protection or having to get up at night to change your protection so you avoid stained sheets; or if you are passing large clots, you may be experiencing abnormal bleeding. Of course, excess bleeding is its own problem because of anemia risks. But it could also be the sign of underlying problems like fibroids, certain cancers or other medical concerns.

Clotting

Normal: When you’re flowing regularly, you may notice some smaller blood clumps (or clots), especially on your heaviest days.

Not Normal: If you’re passing larger clots—anything bigger than the size of a quarter—that’s a sign of possible problems. Even if your clots are smaller, but you see them frequently, it’s worth discussing with your health care provider.

Timing

Normal: Again, all women are unique, but ‘normal; cycles range from 21 to 35 days between the first day of one period to the first day of the next. The bleeding typically lasts between three and eight days, according to their website.

Not normal: Once you’re out of adolescence and have established your normal cycle range, any major timing changes could be problematic. Missing a few cycles when you aren’t pregnant? That’s something to discuss with your doctor. Bleeding outside of your regular period, or during sex? Another issue to discuss with a medical caregiver. Changes in your cycle often indicate that your body is under stress. Figure out what’s causing stress before you develop other problems. 

Pain

Normal: Mild discomfort during your period is normal, and should be easily managed with OTC medications. Standard cramps or period-related discomfort shouldn’t affect your day to day life.

Not normal: Pain that can’t be managed with drugstore medications is a sign of a problem. Pain that causes nausea and vomiting, should also be cause for concern, especially of the pain begins to radiate down your legs. Excessive pain could be an indication of endometriosis or adenomyosis, conditions that are difficult to diagnose if women aren’t forthcoming about their symptoms.

Pelvic pain experienced outside of your period is also not ‘normal’ and should be investigated further, as it is a potential indication of fibroids, non-cancerous tumors that develop in and around your uterus.

Lifestyle Changes

Normal: You may slow down or rest a bit more while on your period, but it’s your choice. You easily keep up with your regular routine and everyday demands.

Not normal: Your period leaves you exhausted and barely able to make it through your day, let alone add on extras like time with friends or bonus sweat sessions (which is a shame, since exercise can help combat menstrual cramps.) Sometimes, your period is so intrusive, you have to call in sick to work or skip school. These are signs that you may have anemia because of excessive blood loss. Which certainly means you need to talk to your doctor about abnormal periods!

 

Thankfully, treatment is available for almost all the conditions that make your period “not normal.” And we can diagnose and address many women’s health concerns remotely on the Doxy health platform. But the only way to receive help is to speak up, so discuss any menstrual cycle changes with your doctor as soon as you identify an issue!

Just Realized Your Period’s Heavy? Find out Why (and When to Call Us!)

If you’re stuck home right now because of the Coronavirus epidemic, chances are you’re paying more attention to your body. And, if that’s the case, you may have suddenly noticed: your period’s pretty heavy!

There’s lots of reasons your period gets heavy (and we’ll go through them shortly. It’s important to know your why, so you can determine if you need to seek medical care.) But first, let’s talk about what it means to have a ‘heavy’ period.

How Can I Tell if My Period’s Too Heavy? tampons

Like everything to do with your body, some of this is personal. If your period is suddenly much heavier than it used to be (you’re soaking through tampons or pads more rapidly), that on its own could be a warning sign.

But there is a medical condition, known as menorrhagia, which refers to a possibly-dangerous amount of period blood loss. Signs of this condition include soaking your tampon or pad every hour, for several hours in a row. Or, if you need to use a tampon and pad to avoid leaking, you may have a problem. It’s also problematic if your period lasts longer than a week, if you pass clots that are bigger than a quarter, or if your flow is affecting your sleep and daily activities.

Why Is My Period So Heavy? 4 Potential Causes of Heavy Bleeding

There are several reasons your period might be heavy. Let’s explore a few, and discuss what to do if you think that’s your ‘why.’

1. You Have Fibroids

Fibroids are (almost always) non-cancerous tumors that develop in, on or around your uterus. Fibroids cause heavy and long periods. But that’s not the only symptom that pops up with fibroids. If your heavy periods are the result of fibroids, you may have other symptoms like pelvic pain, constipation, frequent urination, and even bloating or weight gain (larger fibroids can make you look like you’re in the early stages of pregnancy!)

If you experience heavy periods, and any of the other fibroid symptoms we described, call your gynecologist or a fibroid specialist for a screening.

2. You’ve Got Thyroid Problems

Your thyroid actually plays a role in regulating your menstrual cycle, so when it’s malfunctioning, your period could stop completely. Or it could get really heavy. Typically, heavy periods are a sign of an underactive thyroid because this can impact your ovaries progesterone production, and that’s the hormone which regulates your period flow.

If an underactive thyroid is causing your heavy periods, you may also experience fatigue, dry skin, brittle nails and hair loss. Got these symptoms too? It’s best to seek the advice of an endocrinologist regarding your thyroid help.

3. You’re Entering Menopause

In the years and months before menopause, your period will change. It won’t come as often, and it could last longer, and be heavier when it does show up.

Since your period is coming less frequently, your uterine lining will get thicker before it sheds. This means when it does arrive, your period will be much heavier. You may also pass more and larger clots. So, if you’re approaching the age of menopause, and your period’s getting heavier, you don’t need to be concerned. Instead, acknowledge your changing body and start preparing mentally for your next stage of life.

4. That Extra Exercise is Causing Changes Happy African American Woman Smiling Outside

Are you using the pandemic to become a crazy runner? Or taking online fitness classes every single day? When you suddenly ramp up your activity levels, your adjusting body may lose its hormonal balance. As a result, your periods may get heavier. And this heavy flow could last for a few cycles, especially if you keep upping your fitness game.

If you’ve been training extra hard during the pandemic, and now your flow is off, you probably don’t need to go into your doctor’s office. You may, however, want to discuss hormone-balancing measures you could take from home. And possibly build a rest day into your schedule!

 

Now you know some possible causes for your heavy period flow, it’s time to start looking carefully at all of your menstrual symptoms. And please know that, even in these crazy times, we are here to help you find relief from period pain. Houston fibroids is open and here for you!

Sources: Prevention Magazine

What’s the Difference Between Polyps & Fibroids?

If you’ve heard about fibroids and polyps, you want to know: are these uterine growths similar? Plus, you may avoid unnecessary medical visits right now, so you need virtual guidance. So, here’s the quick answer: no! These two reproductive health issues are very different. And that means that fibroids and polyps require very different treatment plans. pain from uterine fibroidsSo now, let’s take a closer look at each growth. In that way, we can really understand the differences. 

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids are growths within or on the uterine wall. They are made up of muscle tissue. Most often, fibroids develop within the walls of your uterus, then push outward toward the uterus. These tumors usually appear during your childbearing years. Still, they can form at any time. 

In terms of size, fibroids grow from a few centimeters up to the size of an orange. In fact, in extreme cases, they can reach the size of a small fetus! Many women who suffer from fibroids feel pelvic pain or pressure, but other common symptoms include:

  • Heavy, long-lasting periods
  • Frequent urination
  • Incontinence
  • Painful intercourse
  • Infertility

What are Uterine Polyps?

Like fibroids, polyps are growths that develop around the uterine wall, but that’s where the similarities end. That’s because polyps are tied to your periods. Once you start menstruation, you shed your uterine lining. It then regenerates after the period cycle. Over time, roundish growths (polyps) may develop as the uterine lining returns.  There are two types of polyps: pedunculated (attached to the uterine wall by a stalk) or sessile (attached by a large base). Most polyps range in size from a few millimeters to a few centimeters.

Pedunculated polyps are the most. And they may stick out of your uterus into the vagina. However, the polyps won’t be painful unless they protrude. Of course, polyps cause other symptoms, including irregular periods, spotting between menstrual periods, infertility and bleeding after menopause. 

The Differences Between Uterine Polyps & Fibroids

Now check out the main differences between polyps and fibroids:

Uterine Polyps

  • Made of endometrium tissue
  • Grows within the endometrium tissue
  • Grows to be a few centimeters maximum
  • Periods are usually irregular and spotty
  • Doesn’t usually cause pain

Uterine Fibroids

  • Formed from muscle tissue
  • Develops within the uterine wall
  • Can reach the size of an orange
  • Menstrual cycles are usually heavy and long-lasting
  • Pain can be chronic and severe

 

If you are suffering any symptoms listed above, make an appointment with a fibroid specialist. Call Houston Fibroids at (713) 575-3686 to schedule your consultation. 

Sources: www.health.harvard.edu

5 Reasons Sex Might Hurt (And How to Talk about It)

Did you know that one out of every five women experiences pain during intercourse? But did you also know that this common problem is on you shouldn’t have to live with?

If you are experiencing painful sex (dyspareunia) it’s important to see your healthcare professional and seek treatment. Before you can seek treatment, however, you need to know what’s causing your pain. So, let’s take a look: what are some common triggers of painful sex?

5 Reasons Sex May be Painful

1. Hormones

Certain hormonal changes, like the ones that come when you breastfeed or enter menopause, can leave you with vaginal dryness. If this is the case for you, adding lubricant can help make intercourse comfortable again.

2. Medical Conditions

There are several health problems that can make sex extremely painful. Some of the most common causes for painful sex include Uterine fibroids , Endometriosis, Pelvic inflammatory disease, IBS and Sexually transmitted infections. 

3. Tight Muscles

If you’ve never been able to have sex without pain, you may have primary vaginismus, a condition in which the muscles of your vaginal canal spasm during intercourse, making penetration painful, if not impossible.

4. New Muscle Spasms

If painful sex is new to you, you still may have vaginismus. But your vaginal spasms could be triggered by secondary vaginismus if you’ve previously been able to enjoy sex without pain. This is a condition that impacts between 5 and 17% of women. And, while there’s no clear cause for this condition, it is often triggered by a difficult labor and delivery process, a vaginal infection or endometriosis.

5. Burning issues

Some women experience burning pain in their vaginal openings. If there’s no clear trigger for this pain you will likely be diagnosed with vulvodynia. Many women with this condition are in so much pain, they aren’t even able to use tampons without discomfort.

Discussing Painful Sex with your Partner Results after UFE

When sex hurts, it’s hard for you. But it’s also hard on your partner and your relationship. If you’re dealing with this problem, intimacy is still possible. You and your partner just need to talk openly and honestly. Here are some tips for making that conversation easier. 

First off, you should dedicate a specific time to talk. Remove all distractions like phones so you can truly focus on each other. Next, explain as much as you know about what’s causing your painful sex. You could talk about the physical and emotional impact, and emphasize that as a result, you are less interested in sex, not in your partner.

Also, if it’s helpful, bring your partner to your doctor’s appointment, so he or she can bring up questions and concerns. This could also help you feel like a united team. 

How Can I Put a Stop to Painful Sex

With the right diagnosis and treatment plan, sex should stop hurting. In order to get that diagnosis, be open with your partner and your healthcare provider. And if you realize that uterine fibroids are to blame for your painful intercourse, seeking treatment should help you enjoy intimacy once again. But, before seeking that treatment, make sure you consider all your treatment options: especially minimally invasive treatments like Uterine Fibroid Embolization.

Sources: Australian Study of Health and Relationships, womenshealth.au

Warning: Fibroid Meds Linked to Liver Damage

Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop in and on your uterus. They often give you symptoms such as heavy periods, pelvic pain and more. In order to alleviate those symptoms, you’ll need to treat your fibroids. But, for some women, choosing the wrong treatment could mean even more medical problems!

The Danger of Fibroid Medications

 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has advised that women taking Esmya, a fibroid medication, may experience liver injury from the drug. In order to prevent this complication, the EMA has implemented a series of precautions for doctors to review before prescribing Esmya as a fibroid treatment. 

When working properly, Esmya is supposed to reduce the bleeding and anemia associated with uterine fibroids. Unfortunately, some women taking Esmya have suffered liver injuries. In response, the EMA now recommends that all patients should have liver screenings before and after taking the drug. You should never take Esmya if you’ve had liver problems. Even for healthy women, Esmya isn’t a great choice: in fact,  according to the EMA, you should only take this drug if you don’t have other options.  

Embolization: A Less Complex Fibroid Treatment

Sadly, many women are not aware of UFE, a minimally invasive fibroid treatment with many fewer potential complications. Women who are eligible for UFE can expect a one hour, outpatient procedure that’s minimally invasive.  In fact, most women stand up and walk around right after UFE, because we conduct the procedure through an artery in your arm. Best of all, UFE is a permanent fibroid solution, but it doesn’t affect any other body part. And that’s because we deliver treatment directly to your uterine growths.

If you have been prescribed medications to help manage your uterine fibroid growths, you must explore all of your potential treatment options. Contact our Houston Fibroids practice to see if UFE can help you avoid the potential complications of fibroid medications. 

Check Out This Crucial Women’s Health Revelation

When it comes to fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding, different doctors offer different treatments. Unfortunately,  hysterectomy (the complete removal of a woman’s uterus) is a top suggestion. Since 1995, fibroid doctors like Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee offer embolization. This is a process that cuts off fibroids’ blood flow, shrinking them without invasive surgery. 

Now, we want to help spread the word about non-invasive treatments. That’s because they can make a major impact on your long-term well-being! In fact, science now confirms that women have better long-term outcomes with embolization! 

Why Hysterectomy isn’t Always The Fibroid Answer

A 10-year Dutch study followed 156 women after their uterine fibroid treatments. All of the women had symptoms that could have been treated with hysterectomies. But 81 were treated with embolization and 75 had hysterectomies. Ten years later, the women reported their quality of life. And only 28 embolization patients still needed a hysterectomy! Plus, the  53 women who avoided hysterectomies were just as symptom-free as the 75 women who had hysterectomies right away. In short, the results prove that hysterectomies shouldn’t be the first plan of attack in a fibroid treatment plan. As study leader Jim Reekers says, “Uterine artery embolization is a well-documented and good alternative to hysterectomy for symptomatic uterine fibroids, on which all eligible patients should be counseled.” 

What’s Involved in UAE and UFE?

Uterine fibroid embolization (or uterine artery embolization)is minimally invasive. Interventional Radiologists, doctors trained to provide minimally invasive procedures, perform this procedure. Before treatment, you’ll undergo testing. If you’re a candidate, your entire procedure lasts less than one hour. Better yet, it’s  performed as outpatient therapy. You’ll likely stay no longer than 23 hours after your procedure.

And what happens in the procedure? UFE begins with a tiny incision in your femoral artery. This gives allows us to pass a small tube into your femoral artery, so we can access the uterine artery. Using special X-ray equipment, we then guides the catheter to your fibroid. Next, your IR injects embolic material (small spheres) through the catheter.  

This embolic material blocks vessels around the fibroid. Then, the tumor shrinks without the blood and oxygen it needs to grow. And the material stays in your vessels permanently, so the fibroid doesn’t return. 

Next, we move the catheter to the other side of your uterus, usually using the same incision. And, after we embolize both sides of the uterine artery, we gently remove your catheter and place finger pressure over the small incision in your thigh. After a few minutes, we’ll likely close the incision.

After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort such as abdominal cramping or pain. You may need some medication. But our skilled nurses will help you with post-procedure care. We’ll also schedule your post procedure follow up appointments.That way, you’ll come in at the optimal time. 

Find Out More

Many women with fibroids can clearly avoid hysterectomy. And embolization can still delay surgery and menopause, even for women who eventually require one. When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. Before undergoing a life-altering hysterectomy, or any invasive fibroid treatment, schedule a consultation with our office team. We are happy to discuss your eligibility for UFE. 

Sources: Parent’s Africa Magazine, CVIR Endovascular Journal

Learn the Hidden Danger in Black Women’s Hair Products

Uterine fibroids are just worse for black women than for any other group. African Americans develop these tumors three times as often as women of other races. Plus, their fibroids develop earlier–often in their twenties. In comparison, most white women don’t get fibroids until their 30s. Of course, those are scary statistics. But what’s worse? We don’t have concrete explanations for the disparities. What we do have, however, are theories. And one of those theories has to do with hair styling. 

Could Hair Products Impact Fibroids?

 

Hair products–can’t live without ’em, right? Well, as it turns out, it also may not be wise to live with them. 

According to the Silent Spring Institute, many of the hair products marketed to black women are full of harmful chemicals. Ever wondered why they smell so bad? It’s basically the poisons inside them. They’re just revealing their nature. 

In fact, there is some science to back up this claim. A 2017 Rutgers University study linked breast cancer and Black women’s use of hair relaxers. A 2012 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology associated fibroid risk with the use of hair relaxers. Shirley McDonald of the Hair and Scalp Clinic says, “We now know that many hair products contain chemicals that are considered carcinogenic and/or hormone disrupters, leading to increased risk of medical issues such as fibroids (non-cancerous tumors that grow in the uterus, potentially damaging fertility and leading to a host of other complications). Trichologists see lots of conditions that are likely to be triggered by hair products, particularly central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, a type of permanent hair loss to the crown area of the scalp.”

Chemicals in Black Women’s Hair Products

Among the many dangerous substances in black women’s hair products? Cyclosiloxanes, nonylphenols (also found in certain detergents), and phthalates (also found in plastics, they are the main reason people are working to ban plastics from food containers.) Besides their toxicity, each of these chemicals share a common bond–they have all been linked to hormone disruption as well as an increased risk of developing fibroids, asthma, infertility, and even cancer. That’s a hefty price to pay for shinier hair. 

Throwing Flames on the Fire


Being exposed to these chemicals is particularly troubling for black women, as they already have a higher risk of developing fibroids than other populations of women. Family history plays a part in that risk but, more and more, certain hair products are also starting to shoulder the blame. According to the Silent Spring study mentioned earlier, 80% of Black hair products they tested contained “endocrine-disrupting and asthma-causing chemicals.” Products examined included by the study included relaxers, hot oil treatments, leave-in conditioners, and anti-frizz balms. The scariest statistic? Hair relaxers that specifically targeted children had the highest levels of chemicals; many of those chemicals have already been banned in the EU. 

New Evidence Links Relaxers to Female Cancers two friends talking together

Of course, fibroids are a major problem. But hair relaxers are linked to so many other health problems. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) just released results from an eight-year study. They followed over 46,000 women, of all races between the ages of 35–74. And they found a link between chemical hair relaxers and breast cancer. Perhaps not surprisingly, African American women had a 45 percent increased risk of breast cancer as compared to women of other races.

Taking Action

While you can’t do anything about your family history, being selective about the hair products you choose can certainly go along way towards protecting your health. To find out more about dangerous hair care products and your individual fibroid risk, please contact our office for a consultation with Dr. Fox or Dr. Hardee. 

Sources: NY Times parenting, Silent Spring Institute, NIH

How Much Bleeding is Too Much?

Woman with uterine fibroids
Listen to your body to know if heavy bleeding is a warning sign for fibroids

You may have heard that heavy bleeding is a sign of fibroids, but how can you tell the difference between normal and abnormal blood flow? Here are some helpful tips to help figure out what’s going on with your body: 

5 Signs of Abnormal Bleeding

  1. Bleeding between periods is considered abnormal.
  2. Experiencing more than one period in a month is also outside of normal bleeding. 
  3. A period that lasts longer than 7-9 days is potential cause for concern. 
  4. Flow that’s heavy enough to keep you from your daily activities should be considered a red flag. 
  5. Bleeding after menopause could indicate the presence of a uterine fibroid or other problematic condition. 

If you experience any of the above warning signs, or if you are passing blood clots that are larger than golf balls during your menstrual cycle, it is definitely time to see your doctor. Any one of these symptoms could be a sign of fibroids, polyps or adenomyosis, a condition in which endometrial tissue grows into and around the uterine wall. 

As always, when it comes to your health, the old adage is true: better safe than sorry. The best indicator of worrisome bleeding is bleeding that makes you worry. If you’re concerned about changes in your menstrual cycle, it is always a good idea to see a doctor. While everything may be normal, you’ll never know what’s going on with your body unless you speak up and see your physician. 

At your doctors office, simple procedures like blood tests and ultrasounds can determine the cause of your unusual bleeding. Once you have a diagnosis, you and your doctor can determine the best treatment plan to manage your heavy bleeding and other symptoms, so don’t delay. Contact our office and schedule an appointment today. 

Sources: Healthline.com 

Houston Fibroids is now OPEN for business!

Our offices have stringent safety protocols in place to keep you safe and provide the care you need.  We are accepting appointments now. Do not delay necessary medical care and follow-up. Call our office today at 713-575-3686  to schedule your appointment with Dr. Fox, Dr. Hardee, or Dr. Valenson.

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