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Fibroids Awareness Month (July, 2024)

Fibroids Awareness Month (July, 2024)

Key Facts

According to American Fibroid Centers:

  • Fibroids and ovarian cysts are two common health conditions that can affect women’s reproductive systems. While they share some symptoms, they have distinct differences in their origins, development, and potential health impacts.
  • It is not uncommon for women to have more than one fibroid at the same time.
  • According to the Office on Women’s Health (or OWH, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), fibroids are almost always benign. There is a less than one in 1,000 chance that a cancerous fibroid will occur.

Also called myomas or leiomyomas, fibroids are benign (noncancerous) growths that form in or around the uterus. July is Fibroid Awareness Month, and it is important for women to understand what fibroids are and how they can be treated.

Though fibroids are common and affect many women of reproductive age, they often go undiagnosed because we attribute their symptoms to other causes.

What are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are the most common noncancerous tumors in women of reproductive age. Fibroids are made of muscle cells and other tissues that grow in and around the wall of the uterus, or womb. The cause of fibroids is unknown.

How To Identify Fibroids

Fibroids may grow without causing any symptoms at all. However, they can interfere with your quality of life depending on their size and location. The most common symptoms include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding: Fibroids can cause menstrual cycles to be heavier than normal or last longer than usual. Patients should track their menstrual cycles to look for any changes in bleeding patterns.
  • Frequent urination: Fibroids may press against the bladder and cause urinary frequency or urgency. Try to urinate at regular intervals to see if this is a problem.
  • Constipation: Some growths press against the rectum and make it difficult to have a bowel movement. Drink water and eat fiber-rich foods to stay regular.
  • Discomfort during intercourse: Fibroids are known to cause pain during sex. Talk to your partner about any discomfort you may be experiencing.
  • Pelvic pain and pressure: Patients may have a dull ache or sharp pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis due to fibroids. This pain may radiate to the lower back, buttocks, or legs.

How Fibroids Are Diagnosed

Fibroids are normally found during a health evaluation with a primary care physician or gynecologist. They may ask about any relevant symptoms, take a medical history, and perform a physical exam to confirm a diagnosis.

Quick Links

CDC | Reproductive Health

American Fibroid Center | Uterine Fibroids