Fibroids

Ever notice that your periods have become heavier? Or last a bit longer? This can be due to hormonal imbalances which may be due to your natural progression into the end of your fertile life, however it can also be due to hormonal imbalance and or benign (non-deadly) growths inside your uterus called ‘Fibroids’.

Who is most likely to get them?

It is estimated that around 70-80% of women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lifetime. They become more prevalent throughout our menstrual life, peaking in prevalence around our 40’s and tapering down in menopause.  

Somethings can increase your likelihood of developing them, such as; 

  • Out of balance hormones
  • Afro-American ethnicity
  • 40-50 years of age
  • Obesity
  • History of poor pregnancy outcomes
  • Getting your first period at a young age (prior to 12)
  • Mum, sisters or aunties that had fibroids (there is some genetic link)
  • Too much caffeine (this tends to create hormone imbalances)
  • Inflammation from poor diet

How do you know if you have them?

You can have an inkling that you may have fibroids by answering the questions in the above ‘Self-Health Check’ section, however the only way to really tell is through a couple of different scan options:

  1. Transvaginal Ultrasound–> This is the ultrasound machine you see in movies that is about the thickness of two of your fingers and is well shaped like an 🍆 🍆 🍆 It’s inserted into the vagina and gets a clear picture of what the inside of it’s walls look like.
  2. Sonohysterography–> This is also inserted into the vagina but is the thickness of a pen and quite long, this is so that it can go further into the uterus and investigate higher up.
  3. Hysteroscopic surgery –> This is often where surgeons with explore your uterus through your abdominal cavity and look to find (if there are any) and remove fibroids at the same time.

Self-Health Check for fibroids...

These symptoms can be signs of other conditions, however may mean that you have fibroids.

  • Spotting before your cycle is due
  • Feeling of fullness in the uterus, lower abdomen or back pain that is different for you
  • Heavier than usual menstrual bleeding
  • Pressure or pain with intercourse
  • Abnormal or erratic pelvic bleeding (some cause bleeding and others don’t, it’s down to where they’re located)
  • Past history of trouble maintaining an early pregnancy or spontaneous abortion

** If you’re experiencing abnormal bleeding when you’re not menstruating (Pregnant or menopausal) You should consult your doctor as soon as possible as you need to consider other possible causes before thinking it is the fibroid, it may be there as a coincidence.**

Where do you get them?

They can be anywhere in, or around your uterus.  Their location often is the reason why women experience different symptoms. Often times fibroids go un-noticed and are nothing to worry about, unless they are creating heavy blood loss leading to iron deficiency, problems conceiving or issues with debilitating pain.

"

MD, PhD Gynaecologist

Dr. Shawn Tassone

Generally they’re not a problem, until they’re a problem.

Why Do we get them?

The high prevalence of fibroids in the last premenopausal years, when anovulatory cycles are more frequent leading to a decline in progesterone, implies a greater role of oestrogen than progesterone in the formation and development of fibroids. 

This can be why women who suffer from other conditions fed by high oestrogen eg. Endometriosis, also suffer from fibroids. In this sense, looking at why you have higher amounts of oestrogen (poor diet, poor liver function, toxic substances from the environment, stress, genetics) can help to understand the underlying cause of your fibroids.

 

What should i do about my fibroids?

If they’re not causing you any symptoms or effecting your life, the medical profession suggests to leave them alone. If you view your fibroids as a symptom of hormonal imbalance you can focus on improving this: 

  • Support your liver (Milk thistle and plenty of green leafy vegetables) 
  • Decrease stress (we recommend reading SD Protocol, for a easy to understand and implement tool for balancing your stress) 
  • If you’re peri-menopausal speak to your doctor about bio-identical progesterone cream
  • The basics: plenty of water, sleep and reducing refined sugars and alcohols. 
  • If you’re experiencing severe symptoms such as high blood loss, debilitating pain –> Than you need to talk to your doctor about your medical and surgical options. (Often prescribe oral contraceptives, however these only mask your symptoms, NSAIDs for the heavy bleeding and cramping, or a hysterectomy in severe cases)

References

  1. Reis F, Bloise E, Ortiga-Carvalho T. Hormones and pathogenesis of uterine fibroids. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology [Internet]. 2016 [cited 5 February 2021];34:13-24. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2015.11.01
  2. Ulin M, Ali M, Chaudhry Z, Al-Hendy A, Yang Q. Uterine fibroids in menopause and perimenopause. Menopause. 2019;27(2):238-242.
  3. Lisiecki M, Paszkowski M, Woźniak S. Fertility impairment associated with uterine fibroids – a review of literature. Menopausal Review. 2017;16(4):137-140.