Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Living with Uterine Fibroids

A year ago, I went to my OB-GYN for a checkup, because I have not been to see her in years. During that checkup, I found out that I had uterine fibroids. The only knowledge I had about these things at the time was because of a co-worker who had them who had surgery to have them removed, along with her uterus. She reacted to it like it was a death sentence, so I was prepared to expect the worst considering that just a few years ago I had surgery for thyroid nodules that was blocking my airway that resulted in a thyroidectomy and the nodules tested for cancer.

I guess in a way should not have been surprised about the fibroids. My doctor said the fibroids, while small, were around three or four -- it made my stomach look like I was four months pregnant, which would explain my big tummy. The same was the case with the nodules on my thyroid. There were a number of them clumped together sticking to my thyroid that made it look large.


Image by silviarita from Pixabay

My doctor gave me my options: I could take medication that would result in me going into menopause to stop the growth of the fibroids. According to her, menopause usually results in the shrinking of the fibroids, so most people who are nearing menopausal age are advised to just wait it out. The catch was that I would need to take the medication until the age that I am supposed to have menopause, which is still an awfully long way away. The medication is expensive and would result in side effects that usually come with menopause. Plus, if I start taking it, I cannot stop because my periods would come back and my fibroids will continue to grow and I would be back where I started (only poorer, I suppose).

Another option would be to have surgery to remove the fibroids, but there is no guarantee that it would not grow back. As long as I still get my periods, I will still have the chance of getting them. Just like with medication, I would be back where I started. The only way she believes I could get rid of them for good would be to have a hysterectomy, which would remove my uterus along with the fibroids. But then again, this would result in early menopause, which my doctor believes I am too young for.

I have discussed this with my General Practitioner, and he was not worried. He assured me that, as my OB-GYN said, the fibroids would shrink once I go into menopause. Because unlike most women with fibroids I was not experiencing any pain or any effects on my cycle, he does not see an urgent need to have them removed. He did advise, however, for me to lose weight since body fat seems to be something that the fibroids feed on.

I was supposed to go back to my OB-GYN to check the growth of the fibroids, but with the pandemic, I have opted not to. I have been exercising regularly, and my waistline has actually lost a significant number of inches since my last checkup, so any concerns of the fibroids growing are unlikely. Besides, I do not experience any pain or side-effects from it (I would not have known I had them in the first place if I did not have my checkup anyway).

I have been reading a lot on the topic and I have been checking out my options for fibroid removal online. I even found a specialist in St. Luke’s Hospital who has other options for fibroid removal that I am interested in if I ever get to the point where it would be necessary to have them removed. At this point, I am just doing my best to eat right and exercise in the hope that this will help alleviate my condition. I want to avoid surgery as much as possible right now since I find it scary to be in a hospital during this pandemic. My family is worried and they do not agree with me about not going to get checked or having surgery but it is my decision to hold off for now. I am reading up on the topic and learning about methods to stay healthy and (hopefully) prevent further growth of the fibroids for now and so far, taking my waistline into consideration, I think I am doing a good job.

These fibroids are just another in a long list of health issues I have had my entire life. I have gotten through so many since I was a child, I believe I will make it through this one as well. My only complaint about this is that now that I know what I have, I find myself more aware of it in me. It is like I feel it inside me. When my nephew hugs me and hits my tummy, I think I can feel it. Weird, right?

If anyone has any health tips for someone like me, I would appreciate the heads up.

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