In our Houston fibroid practice, we want women to know they have options when it comes to treating fibroids. So we also like to celebrate women (and men) who share our passion for sharing fibroid health education.
This week, we honor Lisa Ismail, a Philadelphia area woman who is sharing her personal fibroid story. She hopes to help other women in similar situations.
A Fibroid Diagnosis During Pregnancy
Lisa was first diagnosed with fibroids while she was pregnant. Her ultrasound technician found the non-cancerous tumor during a routine pre-natal scan.
Happily, she went on to have a healthy baby, and didn’t think much about her fibroid. Until, that is, symptoms started impacting her daily life.
Lisa told KYW News Radio, “Eight years later, my period started to be really irregular and I went to the doctor and you know she kind of just was like, ‘oh, well your age.’”
Shockingly, despite her earlier diagnosis, Lisa says that nobody suggested treating her fibroid. Because of that, it grew larger, causing her to experience life-altering symptoms.
“I bled all month,” she said. “I didn’t stop, I became anemic and they did a vaginal ultrasound and I find out that I have this seven centimeter fibroid inside my uterus.”
Large Fibroids Mean Major Symptoms
For Lisa, the heavy periods endangered her health. She was losing enough blood to require a transfusion. So, to stop the bleeding, she had a hysterectomy (surgical removal of her uterus.)
Unfortunately, Lisa learned first-hand how devastating this treatment option can be. “It’s not an easy surgery,” she explained. “These are major surgeries and it’s an emotional surgery.”
And here’s what we, as fibroid doctors, find equally devastating: according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 200,000 hysterectomies are performed each year for uterine fibroids. And many of those women could have at least tried alternative, less invasive, treatment options.
Lisa shares our outrage, “It’s upsetting,” she said. “Like, why wasn’t I told about this so I could’ve followed it so I could’ve known? I wouldn’t have probably have had a hysterectomy, they probably if it was small enough could’ve taken it out vaginally without going through an invasive major surgery,” she said.
Or, as we know, she could have shrunk the tumors using Uterine Fibroid Embolization, which cuts off their blood supply using a minimally-invasive catheter injection.
Because of the avoidable outcome in her case, Lisa wanted to share her story with other women. She hopes that women will seek early treatment, and explore their non-surgical treatment options, so no one else has to lose her uterus unnecessarily.