Socialising and even going on holiday were often times of dread for fibroid sufferer Sharon Rosen.
The 52 year old mother of two would have such severe pain and heavy bleeding during her periods, she was fearful of leaving her own home in case the bleeding happened in public.
Sharon, who is married and lives in Shenley, Hertfordshire explained: “It was terrible. My periods were just so heavy – they’d last for 10 days, stop for 10 and then start again for 10 days. I was petrified of going out in case I ‘flooded’. If I went to a friend’s house and they had a cream suite, I’d be completely on edge.
“I once ‘flooded’ on a flight going on holiday and it was just awful. I had to walk through the airport in airline pyjamas which was horrendous.”
Sharon, who has three grandchildren, added: “I used to get extremely depressed and was so very tired because I was anaemic as I was losing so much blood. The doctor was concerned that my iron levels were very low. It was down to three and should have been between 10 – 16. People think ‘oh it’s just fibroids’ but have no idea what it’s like living with them.
“I’d also get very shivery and suffer from migraines – I’m not sure if they were related to the fibroids but I started getting them when the fibroid symptoms started.”
Uterine fibroids – benign (non-cancerous) lumps that develop in the womb – are common, with around 40 in every 100 women developing them at some time in their life.1 They most often occur in women aged from 30-50 years old, but can develop in women younger and older.1
Many women are unaware that they have fibroids because they have no symptoms.1 However, around one in every three women with fibroids experience some symptoms that may include heavy, long and painful periods, bleeding between periods, feeling ‘full’ in the lower part of the stomach, pain or discomfort during sex, problems getting pregnant and miscarriages.1
Sharon’s symptoms began around seven years ago when she was in her mid-40’s and started experiencing heavy bleeding and pain in her sides. After seeing her GP she was immediately referred to a gynaecologist who diagnosed fibroids and recommended a number of treatment options.
Sharon explained: “My fibroids were big and the consultant at first suggested I try a drug which would help reduce the bleeding but it didn’t work for me. They then suggested a hysterectomy but I felt I was too young for this extreme procedure. Then they suggested doing an operation called an endometrial ablation and I was fitted with the Mirena coil at the same time.
“The operation seemed to work and I had light bleeding monthly but then the heavy bleeding started again a few years later so I had another endometrial ablation and a second coil fitted. At the moment I’m ok and I am hopeful they will not come back.”
She added: “My advice to other women is make sure you go to your GP straight away if you’re having heavy bleeding – don’t just suffer in silence as it could be fibroids. If fibroids are diagnosed, discuss all the different treatment options available with your gynaecologist – the most important thing is having all the facts and considering what the best options are.”
For further information about fibroids, including the causes, symptoms and treatment options, visit the patient website www.fibroidsconnect-2.richweb.io 2, the British Fibroid Trust at www.britishfibroidtrust.org.uk or NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk
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1 NHS Choices 1, Fibroids, at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Fibroids/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Accessed January 2014)
2 fibroidsconnect-2.richweb.io was fully developed and funded by Gedeon Richter