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Coping

If you have been diagnosed with fibroids, work with your doctor to decide what symptoms you can live with and what can be done to moderate your symptoms.

If you take estrogen, you may want to stop taking it as this can potentially reduce the size of your fibroids. If you use hormone therapy or a medication that contains estrogen, talk to your health-care provider about stopping it. You may also want to avoid foods that have hormones in them, such as processed foods, non-organic eggs, meat and dairy products.

You can also join our discussion group and receive support from other women in our moderated online discussion groups. You are certainly not alone: approximately 30 percent of women over the age of 35 have fibroids, and as many as 50 percent of Black women have fibroids.

Here are some tips for coping with symptoms, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, urinary frequency, constipation, back and abdominal pain, and pain during sexual intercourse:

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Heavy menstrual can make you anemic, which can make you feel tired and short of breath. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding, you should eat iron-rich foods, like cream of wheat, lean red meats, liver, dried beans, nuts and seeds. You may also want to consider an iron supplement. It is wise to have your hemoglobin levels (the iron-containing component of blood) monitored regularly.

To cope with heavy bleeding, some women wear both a pad and a tampon or double up pads, with one further forward on the underwear and one further back, so they have a double thickness in the centre. Heavier pads designed for women who have just given birth are another option, but both of these options are bulky and often uncomfortable. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding for an extended length of time, talk to your doctor about treating your fibroids.

Over-the-counter pain relief medication, like ASA (Aspirin), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil), can help relieve cramps and bloating and may also reduce blood flow. If these drugs are not effective, talk to your doctor about stronger alternatives.

The hormonal birth control method Depo-Provera stops many women (50 percent) from having their period. Depo-Provera may also help prevent the growth of fibroids. If you are not trying to get pregnant, this may be an option for you.

Some women also find that reducing their stress can help stabilize their menstrual flow.

Urinary Frequency

This problem is hard to prevent, but it may help to be aware of when and how much you drink. Avoiding liquids after 6 pm can help prevent having to get up at night.

Constipation

A high-fibre diet can help reduce or eliminate constipation. Whole grain breads and cereals, legumes and many fruits and vegetables are high in fibre and may help with this problem. Psyllium-containing laxatives are mild and more appropriate for long-term use than other laxatives. Drink plenty of water, particularly if you are using a laxative. When having a bowel movement, elevate your feet slightly on a stool and relax your pelvic floor muscles to make it easier.

Back and Abdominal Pain

Over-the-counter pain relief, like ASA (Aspirin), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil), can help relieve pain. Resting with a heating pad on the area where you feel pain may also help. If your pain is a constant problem, you should speak to your doctor about treating your fibroids.

Pain During Sexual Activity

Pain during sexual activity usually occurs because your partner is pressing down on your abdomen, or because the fibroid is positioned so that it is being pressed on during penetration. Experimenting with a variety of sexual positions may help you find one that is more comfortable and enjoyable for you.

 

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Fibroids

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Diagnosis

Coping

Treatment

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Gynecological Health Discussion Forum

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