While watching the new episode of "Real House Wives of Atlanta" a few days ago, I really began to pay attention when the fabulous Cynthia Bailey began to speak about her issues with her uterine fibroids. My ears perked up a bit when she started to shed tears as she explained to her husband Peter that the symptoms she was experiencing were uncontrollable, and the complaints registered in my mind as ones that I have heard so many older women in my family express in the past. Since this sensitive topic was brought up on national TV and I am an advocate for educating women about sexual health, I decided to put a spotlight on an issue that as many as 3 out of 4 women experience in their lifetime.
Uterine fibroids are typically an issue for women in their 40's or 50's and can range in size from an apple seed to the size of a grapefruit. They are muscular, non cancerous (benign) tumors that can grow as single tumors or in multiples within the uterine (uterus) wall . Fibroids are a prevalent issue for African American women, and are usually a genetic issue. No one really knows what causes fibroids, but researchers link their growth to several different factors including hormonal issues and genetics. These muscular masses cause a variety of symptoms including heavy bleeding or painful periods, frequent urination, lower back pain and pain during sex. Enlarged fibroids can also cause bloating of the lower abdominal area that may appear as early stages of pregnancy. The presence of uterine fibroids can be detected by ultrasound, MRI testing, X-Rays or Cat Scans.
If you are a woman that is experiencing any of the above said symptoms, contact your gynecologist to set up an appointment for a checkup. Stay on top of your health and arm yourself with knowledge.