What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine Fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the uterus. If you ask Dr. Wikipedia, he’ll show you a picture. If you’d rather not, I’ll just quote him here:
“While most fibroids are asymptomatic, they can grow and cause heavy and painful menstruation, painful sexual intercourse, and urinary frequency and urgency. Some fibroids may interfere with pregnancy although this appears to be very rare.”
What happens when a fibroid becomes symptomatic?
Sudden, heavy vaginal bleeding may occur during business meetings. You may need to explain this to your (male) boss. Don’t worry. The Duane Reade on the corner sells underwear. Wipe your shoes and carry on.
Track your period. Seek medical advice. When your doctor prescribes iron pills, take them with a tall glass of water and plenty of food. Order the burger. Ask everyone if they know that apricots are high in iron. They usually don’t. Hah!
Blood may emerge in large clots, of a size you imagine to be consistent with useful internal organs—this is normal. You may wish to call your partner to explain your fear that you are carrying a half-vampire baby who is eating you from the inside. Go ahead. It could be worse, you could have picked the werewolf.
So you’re a bride-to-be?
Bleeding, discomfort, and excessive bathroom use are inconvenient at the best of times, but particularly so during courtship. You may find yourself asking the questions I asked myself last year: Can you communicate that you can’t face sex—again—without feeling guilty? Can you sponge your own bodily fluids off the floor one minute and still feel attractive the next? Is it ok to ask your fiancé to come to your ultrasound appointment when you’re not growing a baby, but a freak lump of flesh? Also, if you have to have a fibroid surgically removed, WILL YOU DIE?
The answer, reader, is yes, yes, yes, and no. But none of them come easy. Get comfortable with honesty, fear, “what if” discussions, and scars.
In other words, congratulations. Fibroids, like any crisis, are your shortcut to some really gnarly communication. This may make the engagement less ideal, but it will strengthen your eventual marriage. Bodily fluids, after all, will be your lifelong companions. It’s as well to make them welcome early. Also: You’ve found someone who will hold your hand and love you, even while your stomach has an uneven lump and you’re hanging cloth menstrual pads to dry all over your shared apartment. You will manage nausea, hormones, digestive upsets, and all the rest, because they are there to remind you: You can manage anything.
Photo by: Kelly Benvenuto Photography