About Fibroids

Fibroids are benign (noncancerous) tumors of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develops from abnormal muscle cells in the uterus and multiplies rapidly when encountering the estrogen hormone. Fibroids are connected to many severe health problems, including fertility and pregnancy problems, anaemia, anxiety and depression, and are inversely related to prolonged estrogen exposure and diabetes.

Fibroids disproportionately affect Black women.

Risk factors may include, family history of fibroids, obesity, and diet high in red meat.

Common fibroid symptoms include, heavy or prolonged periods, bleeding between periods, abdominal discomfort, pelvic pain, lower back pain, bladder symptoms, and bowel symptoms.

20% to 50% of women of reproductive age currently have fibroids.

Up to 77% of women will develop fibroids sometime during their childbearing years.

Fibroids may be diagnosed through pelvic exam, pelvic ultrasound, MRI, Hysterosalpingography or Hysteroscopy.

Fibroids & Fertility

Fibroids can affect fertility in many ways, but not all women with fibroids will become infertile. The size and location of the fibroids determines whether they impact fertility, e.g. fibroids that are inside the uterine cavity (submucosal) or very large fibroids ( more than 6 cm in diameter) within the wall of the uterus (intramural). Fibroids can impact fertility by:

Changing the shape of the cervix affecting the number of sperm that can enter the uterus.

Changing the shape of the uterus interfering with the movement of the sperm or embryo.

Blocking the fallopian tubes, stopping sperm from reaching the eggs

Changing the size of the lining of the uterine cavity, reducing the chance of a successful pregnancy

Affecting blood flow to the uterine cavity impacting the ability of an embryo to stick (implant) to the uterine wall or to develop.

Fibroids & Pregnancy

Fibroids are found in 2% to 12% of pregnant women, but not all fibroids get larger or cause pregnancy complications. Fibroids can:

Increase risk of preterm birth or miscarriage and cesarean section.

Affect the growth and positioning of the baby.

Grow, typically during the first trimester.

Shrink or Resolve. A study found that approximately 76% of fibroids reduce in dimension by the postpartum period, and 36% that appeared in early pregnancy resolve.

Increase risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

Be managed by Ob/Gyn during pregnancy.

Fibroids & Anemia

Excessive blood loss from heavier menstrual bleeding brought by uterine fibroids or surgeries to remove the tumors can result in excess loss of hemoglobin, causing a depletion of oxygen in the body. The deficiency in this iron-rich protein found in red blood cells is known as iron deficiency anemia. Anemia itself can lead to other health problems such as pregnancy complications, heart murmurs, irregular heartbeats, and even heart failure.

1 in 4 women undergoing fibroid removal surgeries are anemic.

Hemoglobin less than 120g/L is considered anemic.

Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, shortage of breath, chest pain, and headaches.

Treatments include iron supplements and diet changes.

An Iron-rich diet including meat, poultry, leafy greens, and iron-fortified pastas can prevent anemia.

Ask your doctor to test you for anemia before and after fibroid removal procedures.

Fibroids & Mental Health

The pain and other symptoms from uterine fibroids can lead to decreased quality of life. Research has documented a higher incident of anxiety and depression among women with fibroids. This association between fibroids and mental health was highest among women experiencing pain-related uterine symptoms. Some of the contributing factors include:

Pelvic pain, the most common symptom among women with uterine fibroids.

Chronic pain conditions.

Scar from fibroid removal surgery.

Fear of fibroids symptoms and their consequences, such as fertility and pregnancy complications.

Rates of diagnosed depression and anxiety lower in black women (Likely due to low reporting because of mental health stigma).

Therapy can help with coping with the emotional and mental stressors associated with a fibroids.

Obesity or Insulin Resistance

While it is often speculated that insulin plays a role in fibroid development, research suggests that though black women have higher levels of insulin resistance and are also disproportionately affected by fibroids, insulin resistance does NOT appear to impact the development of fibroids. Fibroid prevalence does increases with Body Mass Index (BMI), but the impact of BMI on fibroids appears to be independent of insulin resistance. In a nutshell, High BMI = Insulin Resistance, High BMI = fibroids, however, Insulin Resistance ≠ fibroids.

Diet and lifestyle affect BMI.

Diet and lifestyle play a role in fibroids development and growth.

Losing weight may help prevent or shrink fibroids.

Eating a healthy diet and being active can help with maintaining a healthy BMI and decrease fibroids risks.

Since high insulin (caused by an elevated sugar intake) can affect your weight, avoiding added sugar can be an added benefit.

Research all of the conditions that can contribute to fibroid development and make inform choices that can help you rid your body of fibroids naturally.

The Good Life

Your Healthy Choices

Get Moving

Stay Hydrated

Eat Well

Get Enough Sleep

Limit Alcohol

Subtract added sugar

Limit Caffeine

Manage Stress