Endometriosis ~ Abdominal Pain ~ Endo ~ Scar Tissue ~ Adhesions ~ Infertility ~ Hysterectomy

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Common uterine tumors? What's a girl to do? A lot

Want to startle a man? Tell him you have tumors.
Want to make a man cringe? Tell him the tumors are in your girly part.
I've made more than a few men, as well as a few women, cringe the last few weeks by telling them of the noncancerous growths that have invaded my dear, dear uterus.
The doctors call them fibroid tumors, but I've named my triplets Frankie, Donna and little Louis. I am not alone.
Uterine fibroids are extremely common, mostly popping up when a woman is in her 30s or 40s. According to the Mayo Clinic and other sources, as many as three out of four women have them. Most women are unaware of their fibroids because their tumors cause no symptoms and don't require treatment.
For the rest of us — many in the 30 percent of women of childbearing age diagnosed with fibroids, according to the National Institutes of Health — uterine fibroids, depending on their size and location, can cause heavy or abnormal menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure, frequent urination or urine retention, fatigue, constipation or/and back and leg pain. More facts:
These tumors cause infertility in about 3 percent of patients, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
Researchers don't know exactly why uterine fibroids develop but believe their growth is related to genetics and the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Black women are at a three to five times greater risk than white women of developing fibroids, according to the National Institutes of Health.
About 600,000 American women have a hysterectomy — the removal of the womb — yearly, according to fibroidsecondopinion.com. About 30 percent of those hysterectomies are done to eliminate fibroids.
All that hushed talk about troubled lady parts I overheard when I was a kid made sense after I was diagnosed with fibroids. It turns out my grandmother, my mother and most of my aunts have had fibroids. Half of my female kinfolk have had hysterectomies because of fibroids.
The first doctor I spoke with told me he would recommend a hysterectomy — that is if I didn't plan on perhaps maybe having children one day.
"Hysterectomy" is a hard word to hear when you're childless, marvelously unmarried and still relatively young. Plus, a girl grows attached to her uterus. We like shopping together.
Luckily for my maybe one-day children — Hurricane, Sprinkle-Spangle and Amelia Jr. — hysterectomy is far from the only treatment for fibroid tumors.
There are a handful of approaches ranging from minimally invasive to pretty up-in-your-face slam-dance invasive, including the wait-and-watch approach, medication to shrink them temporarily, uterine artery embolization, focused ultrasound surgery and myomectomy, a surgery that removes the fibroids but leaves the uterus in place.
There are also a few ways to do a myomectomy, including a laparoscopic myomectomy, a robotic myomectomy and an open myomectomy — the procedure my second doctor believes is best for my situation.
Frankie, Donna and little Louis will be "delivered" in the near future, and I'll be on fibroid leave from work. But before that happens, I'm going to register at Target. Fibroids need presents, too. Source

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