The cause of fibroids has been a mystery for years. Sources say it stems from obesity, family history, to the early onset of puberty. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 80% of all women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lives.
Fibroids are considered benign or noncancerous but can make life painful. Those who endure the pain, can attest to having their whole life disrupted physically, mentally and emotionally.
Research shows the truth about fibroids is much uglier than we think. Women face discomfort in sexual activities and may have to make difficult decisions about motherhood. Some women have to choose between living with the pain and extensive bleeding or having a hysterectomy — surgically removal of the uterus.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, fibroids are usually found in or around the body of the uterus but sometimes are in the cervix.
The main types of fibroids based on where they are found:
Subserosal are in the outer wall of the uterus. (55%)
Intramural is found in the muscular layers of the uterine wall. (40%)
Submucosal protrude into the uterine cavity. (5%)
Kimberly Kosterno, a well-known realtor in Daytona Beach, FL. has been living with eight fibroids for two decades. She was diagnosed in 1998, after suffering a miscarriage. Kosterno said she often deals with excruciating pain and hormonal changes, and fibroids disrupt her sex life.
Kosterno has been pregnant seven times. Her fibroids have been the cause of three miscarriages, and she has had two emergency births. Kosterno said, however, her “children are worth it.”
Leticia Chapman has fibroids, but she has given birth to eight children and has never had a miscarriage. Chapman was diagnosed in 2013, and her last ultrasound shows her fibroids are around the same size as a dime.
Chapman, who like Kosterno is married, said she has an active sex life. She experiences extremely painful and heavy menstrual cycles but has foregone the option to have a medical procedure. However, Chapman said birth control has helped with the pain.
“Life is still the same just a little more pain,” Chapman said, who lives in Miami, FL.
South Carolina native, Steph Burroughs had her fibroids removed in 2015 after they were discovered in 1999. For 16 years, Burroughs dealt with swelling, bloating and fainting spells.
She found relief through a diet and lifestyle change. Burroughs is a vegetarian and workouts four times a week. She started an aerobics group with family and friends. When her life became consumed with combating the symptoms, she had the fibroids removed.
“This the best decision I’ve ever made,” Burroughs said.