Published September 10, 2018
Saying that fibroids are widely misunderstood is an enormous understatement. Since up to 80% of African American women and 60% of Caucasian women have them, and considering how prevalent they are, misconceptions and myths can lead to one huge confusing muddle for many.
Instead of relying on friends or old beliefs, clear these voices from your head and separate the myths about uterine fibroids from the truth.
Myth #1 : All women with fibroids have terrible symptoms.
No, this is not true. In fact, most women with fibroids have no symptoms. In fact 50-80% of women with fibroids will never know they have them and will never experience symptoms. There are misconceptions that fibroids always trigger heavy menstrual bleeding and pain. There are only a small percentage of women who may experience these symptoms.
Myth #2 : Fibroids will eventually become cancerous.
No again. Almost all fibroids are benign and non-cancerous. It is extremely rare that one will become cancerous with a rate of 1 in 2000.
Myth #3 : Fibroids will just continue to grow.
Because fibroids are affected by estrogen, they will grow and shrink depending on a woman’s estrogen levels. They may grow or even increase in number during pregnancy, but will shrink down after menopause when the ovaries stop producing estrogen. This will be the case unless a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy after menopause.
Myth #5 : Tumors, Cysts, and Fibroids are all the same.
Although many people may use them interchangeably, they are not the same. A tumor is a growth that can be either benign or cancerous. A tumor is sometimes used incorrectly as “fibroid tumor,” but a fibroid is benign. A cyst can develop on the ovaries, and may be malignant.
Myth #6 If you have severe symptoms from fibroids, the best treatment is a hysterectomy.
There are several excellent options to treat fibroids short of invasive hysterectomy surgery.Seek a second opinion if a hysterectomy is the first treatment suggested. In fact, it should be the option of last resort
There are birth control medications to shrink fibroids and control bleeding.
Another treatment option is one performed by a interventional radiologist and known as UFE or Uterine Fibroid Embolization. This procedure is less invasive, less expensive, and there is a shorter recovery time after a UFE. An interventional radiologist is specially trained in non-invasive procedures, and this technique allows women to remove fibroids but keep their uterus intact.
There are several other options so ask your Cherry Hill physician to explain all of your treatment alternatives.