As Houston-based fibroid specialists, we know that painful sex with fibroids can be challenging. That's why we started our Woman Crush Wednesday series. We want to celebrate women who are pushing past fibroids, and share their stories. In doing so, we hope to give hope and strength to all of you still on a fibroid journey. Especially in this moment, since July is Fibroids Awareness Month, a time to help women get the courage to speak up about even their most personal symptoms, so they can get a quick diagnosis and avoid the suffering that comes with delays in detection and treatment.
Now, fibroids can cause many painful symptoms, including heavy periods and severe cramps. You shouldn't consider these normal parts of your period. In fact, if your period makes you miss work, or lasts longer than seven days, that's a sign you need to talk to your doctor about fibroids. The same is true if you have to change your pad or tampon before two hours pass.
But one symptom can be especially uncomfortable, and even more difficult to discuss: painful sex. (In fact, in some countries around the world, the conversation is so taboo that women suffer in silence for years.) When you have fibroids, the location of your non-cancerous tumors can make sexual penetration very uncomfortable. And this can take a toll on your intimate relationships.
With treatment, you can address your fibroids and resolve this pain. But even before seeking treatment, there are ways to connect with your partner without causing you to experience pain. Recently, we came across a letter from one woman, Olivia, describing exactly how she dealt with her fibroid-related sexual pain. And to help all of you out, we're sharing her story, and making her our Woman Crush of the Week!
In her letter to Sex Talk, a column in The Observer, Olivia writes "Somewhere along the way, I developed fibroids...The sex just stopped being good." But rather than giving up on her intimate relationship with her husband, Olivia decided to make some changes.
She says, "In the process of trying to regain my strength and deal with anemia brought on by fibroids, I had to check my diet. I tried to balance what I ate and my doctor recommended some supplements. That seemed to help, but it was still not that good."
Still, Olivia wasn't ready to give up on this important part of her marriage. Next, she writes, came the COVID-19 lock down. Using this time to her advantage, Olivia says, "I decided to take a walk in the evenings. The walks gradually turned into regular exercise and eventually culminated into proper workouts...But that is where the switch was. I felt better with each day of exercise, lost weight and became less grumpy.
In a few days, my energy levels had gone up... I did household chores without complaining. My back stopped hurting – I was feeling much better!"
Soon, her personal health improvements shifted to her intimate relationship. She writes, "Around that time, my husband’s language changed..[He] then initiated the lovemaking, although he seldom did. We both could not believe the outcome. The referee in my brain ticked off against all standards on his checklist. If it were a contest, he would have earned 99.9 per cent. We were shocked!"
Olivia is very lucky: like many women, her fibroid symptoms improved with exercise and weight loss. But, even though her lifestyle changes gave her symptom relief, she is still living with fibroids. Which means she could experience new or worsening symptoms at any point.
For lasting fibroid relief, the best option is fibroid treatment. In our practice, we offer a minimally invasive option, Uterine Fibroid Embolization, which shrinks your fibroid tumors without surgery. Many women choose UFE because it is effective, and you typically don't need to stay overnight in a hospital or deal with a long procedure recovery period.
Other women may prefer options such as myomectomy, a surgery to remove individual fibroid treatments. And some may require a hysterectomy, the surgical removal of your uterus, although we always consider this the treatment of last resort. You should never get a hysterectomy unless it is medically necessary, as this procedure will impact your overall health in so many ways.
We know that fibroid symptoms are challenging, and that it can be equally challenging to choose the right treatment plan. That's why we're here to help. Reach out and schedule a fibroid consultation with our specialists. Just remember: help is available. But you have to speak up and tell someone what you're dealing with. And, when you do? Like Olivia, you can take control of your intimate life, even with fibroids. That way, you can begin your recovery journey with us, right now, and put those symptoms in your past.
Please contact our dedicated specialists to schedule a consultation today.
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