Discovery and Diagnosis
I had no idea I had uterine fibroids prior to diagnosis. All I knew was that I had been experiencing lower abdominal pain, severe cramping, and extra bleeding for a while. Being hardheaded, I just ignored and endured the pain. My annual wellness exam was coming up soon anyway, so I figured if anything were still bothering me, I’d discuss it with my doctor then.
By the appointment, the bleeding, cramping, and pain were nearly constant. Fatigue was permanent. My doctor became concerned when a simple procedure caused excruciating pain and sent me for an ultrasound. There, they discovered submucosal uterine fibroids. The location of one of the fibroids was causing symptoms mimicking labor. The more the fibroid grew, the more my body thought it was time to give birth.
Time for Treatment
Given the circumstances, I was well past non-invasive treatment options. A hysterectomy was an option, but not preferred. Nobody wants me going into menopause any sooner than necessary. So we found a happy medium and surgery was scheduled for as soon as possible.
He performed a hysteroscopic myomectomy to remove the offending tumor and an endometrial ablation to prevent or at least inhibit the growth of any new fibroids and to minimize bleeding. It was a quick and simple outpatient procedure.
I arrived at the hospital at dawn a sobbing, crouching creature and left that afternoon a chipper, upright human being. I felt better than I had in months even with the soreness from the surgery. After a couple of days to get the anesthesia and pain medication out of me, I was off and running.
Facing the Future
I will probably be dealing with uterine fibroids until I am in menopause. Some of these will likely cause pain controllable by over the counter pain medication. Others may require some of the other treatment options available, including a hysterectomy.
Whatever comes, I know that uterine fibroids are a common occurrence among women. One in five women will experience them. Many women never know they have uterine fibroids and never have any symptoms or issues that require medication or surgery.
There are, as always, lifestyle tweaks to help relieve and maybe even prevent uterine fibroids and their symptoms. The two main ones for me are staying active and eating better. Exercising and stretching out help me stave off cramps and pain. Too much red meat and processed sugars agitate my symptoms. Everyone reacts and responds differently to fibroids. As with all things, find what works for you, take it, and disregard the rest.