Finding out about fibroids

Okay, so here we go…

My hysterectomy journey started back in January of this year (2016) when I visited my GP to have my Mirena IUD changed. I’d used Mirena for about 11 years for heavy, painful periods and intermittent bleeding, and it had been great.

This time, when I went back to have the threads checked, the nurse couldn’t find them and neither could my GP, who arranged for me to have an ultrasound. I ended up having an ultrasound and a pelvic probe scan which finally revealed that the threads were caught up in my cervix and that I had a “considerable” fibroid in my womb, which meant the Mirena wasn’t sitting in the correct place.

I’d heard of fibroids (and knew they aren’t dangerous) but didn’t know much about them so went away to learn more. I found out that:

  • there are three types of fibroid, depending on where they grow
  • most women get them at some point, but don’t get symptoms
  • there is more than one treatment for those women for whom they cause a problem
  • hysterectomy is apparently a last-resort treatment

To find out more, look on the NHS site. The British Fibroid Trust might also be helpful, though I must admit, I didn’t really use it.

The thing is, with my age (I’m 48), I was getting symptoms but just put them down to my age and being perimenopausal so it was a bit of a surprise to learn that fibroids were causing my symptoms.

I was getting some pelvic pain and finding that sitting upright, and especially leaning forward, for instance over a computer, was getting more and more uncomfortable as my fibroid was sitting in the front wall of my womb. I could actually feel it through my abdomen. I was also having some issues with my bladder and sometimes couldn’t empty it as much as I wanted. It’s worth being aware of the symptoms and not assuming that everything is “just my age”.

Since my surgery, I’ve found out that as well as the larger fibroid (about 7cm long), I also had “multiple small fibroids”, and that I got away quite lightly – some women have fibroids that are truly huge.

Finding out I had fibroids reminded me that I’m not really a young woman anymore, which was a bit of a shock! Finding out I needed the hysterectomy was even more of a shock. More about that in my next blog.

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