How do the Symptoms of Fibroids Affect Daily Life and Work?
Symptoms of fibroids can include anything from heavy and/or prolonged menstrual periods, sometimes with clots, to an enlarged belly to frequent urination. Many of the symptoms can interfere with daily living and work. Some of them cause women who experience them to stay home more often, to avoid normal activities, or even to miss work more often. In fact, studies have shown that missed work hours due to fibroid symptoms cost our nation billions of dollars a year!
Evan Myers, a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine was asked by the Washington Post about how these symptoms impact daily life, and he said, “When you look at the burden of disease — not only its impact on quality of life but also on women’s ability to work and take care of their kids — it’s really quite stunning.”
They also asked Sateria Venable about her experience with fibroids and the workplace experience, and she said, ““The symptoms were so horrible, I worked in a very male-dominated profession. If you can’t keep up walking on a construction site because you’re anemic, it’s very challenging.”
Not every woman with fibroids experiences symptoms. In fact, some women experience no symptoms at all. But others do have symptoms that range from the mildly uncomfortable to the severely painful, affecting many aspects of life. How do some of the women who reach out to us tell us that their life is impacted?
Daily Life and Work
Women who visit us for a consultation often describe the simple things of daily life and work as more difficult when dealing with the symptoms of fibroids.
The most common symptom for women with fibroids is heavy and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding. Some of our patients have described having to use multiple boxes of feminine products and being nervous to leave home due to bleeding through. Some may choose not to wear light-colored clothes at all during their cycle.
All of the bleeding can lead to anemia, a low red blood cell count. Trying to work while standing all day when anemic can be a big challenge. Anemia can cause fatigue and may also cause shortness of breath. Fatigue and shortness of breath can make even sitting at a computer difficult. Some women report that shortness of breath can affect the ability to talk on the phone or make a presentation at a meeting.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of fibroids can also interfere with sexual intercourse. Some women experience pain during or after intercourse. This pain has been described as similar to cramps during menstruation or stomach pain.
Pain and pressure between the hip bones and in the back of the legs create, for some, an uncomfortable daily life in which regular effort is made to relieve pain. A day at a theme park, trying to simply walk between rides or restaurants with family or friends can become very difficult. The anticipation of pain in the hips or legs causes some of our patients to stay home and not even attempt many fun outings at all.
Frequent urination is not something many women want to talk about, but it can be an effect of fibroids. The time spent going back and forth to the bathroom alone is a cost of time. But there is a social cost as well, as some women report to us that they avoid concerts, church events, or other social events that may not have quick and easy access to a bathroom.
Constipation and bloating are also symptoms that can also make socializing difficult. The symptoms of constipation can be ambiguous and treatment can range from mild to more invasive.
Women sometimes mention being unhappy about an enlarged belly and may at times feel less excited about going out for social functions or family get-togethers. Unfortunately this is far too common with women who have fibroids.
The symptoms of fibroids can interfere with fully living a life of work, play, and family. Seeking treatment options is important, and that’s why we always help you understand all of your options.
The UFE Treatment can be an option.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment that can be an alternative to a hysterectomy. This treatment is effective in reducing symptoms, including reducing or eliminating pain and excess menstrual bleeding, in more than 85% of cases.
Our patients want to make informed decisions about treatment with a trusted, world-class medical group that supports an effective pain management plan.
Reach out to us today and start living again.
For more information:
- A common problem few women want to talk about: Fibroids cause more than just pain. Erin N. Marcus, the Washington Post.
- “The estimated annual cost of uterine leiomyomata in the United States” in the National Library of Medicine. Eden R Cardozo 1, Andrew D Clark, Nicole K Banks, Melinda B Henne, Barbara J Stegmann, James H Segars.