If you’ve been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, you need to know the fibroid facts. Immediately, people will likely inundate you with information and opinions. Unfortunately, not everything you hear will actually be true. To help you sift through the info overload, here are 10 common thoughts about fibroid tumors that are totally and completely untrue:
MYTH #1: Fibroids are cancers.
Because they are tumors, many patients worry that their fibroids are a sign of cancer. Fortunately, that’s completely untrue!
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Fibroids are benign growths; they aren’t linked to uterine cancer. They can be painful and cause disruptive symptoms like pelvic pain and heavy bleeding, but they are not typically a life-threatening condition.
MYTH #2: Women with fibroids need a hysterectomy
For years, women with fibroids were told that hysterectomy was their only treatment option.
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Today, however, that is no longer the case. Myomectomies can be performed to surgically remove individual tumors, or women may seek Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a minimally invasive option. This non-surgical procedure is performed on an outpatient basis; it treats fibroids while preserving a woman’s uterus.
MYTH #3: Women with fibroids can’t get or stay pregnant.
You CAN get pregnant with fibroids. But you may not want to.
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While some fibroids may affect your ability to conceive or complicate your pregnancy and delivery process, others will not have any impact on your fertility. If you have fibroids and are having difficulty conceiving, however, seeking fibroid treatment may improve your odds of starting a family.
MYTH #4: Removed fibroids don’t come back
While we’d like to believe that women will only require one round of fibroid treatments, this is not always the case.
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For some women, fibroids will recur after initial treatment. For this reason, surgery may not be an ideal treatment option. While many women solve their fibroid issues after one round of UFE, those who require additional treatment will at least not be dealing with multiple invasive surgeries.
MYTH #5: All women with fibroids have heavy periods and pelvic pain.
With fibroids, as with life, every woman is different.
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Some women with fibroids will present with these common symptoms. Others will experience no symptoms whatsoever, and may in fact be surprised by their diagnoses. Still others will face constipation, frequent urination or other issues. What’s key is to see your OBGYN for regular exams, and to bring up any side effect or symptom that is unusual for your individual body.
MYTH #6: you shouldn’t seek treatment if you don’t have fibroid symptoms.
No pain, no problem, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Even asymptomatic fibroids can interfere with your ability to get pregnant or to carry a pregnancy to term. Plus, untreated fibroids can keep growing, becoming larger and harder to remove. At that time, you may also have fewer treatment options.
MYTH #7: Your genes determine your fibroid risk
It’s true, some genetic profiles increase your risk factors for uterine fibroids. But that doesn’t paint the whole picture of why these growths develop.
We don’t know exactly why some women develop fibroids while others don’t. What we do know is this. African American women are more likely to develop fibroids than women of any other race. This may be tied to black hair products, or other environmental factors. Plus, other factors such as soy formula feeding, exposure to toxins in plastic and many other issues can increase your odds. In short, while a family history of fibroids may increase your risk slightly, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll also develop these growths.
With any medical diagnosis, getting accurate information is critical for your health. Unfortunately, far too many doctors and news stories don’t give women all the fibroid facts. Especially when it comes to treatment options.
But here’s what we want you to remember. Even if you have fibroids, you don’t need to give up your dream of having a family. And you certainly don’t need to get a hysterectomy. So, what do you need? To explore all your treatment options, even if you aren’t yet experiencing fibroid symptoms.
Want the facts, and to see if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive fibroid treatments? Schedule a consultation with our Houston area fibroid experts today!