Hormones, Polyps, Fibroids … OH MY!

Isn’t it amazing what the uterus is capable of. The single most awesome miracle — where a human being is conceived and developed. That’s some boss sh*t. But your uterus can also be a playground for abnormal growths that can cause pain, infertility and even cancer.

In 2013 my doctor suggested that if I wanted to have children I should probably have some testing done to make sure everything was in working order. I had never been pregnant and I was getting older. I had what’s called a hysterosalpingram (HSG) test. It is an x-ray test that looks inside the uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them. Dye is put through a thin tube that goes through the vagina and into the uterus.  The x-rays can show problems like a blockage that would prevent an egg moving through the fallopian tube to the uterus, injury or abnormal structure of both the tubes and the uterus.

The procedure is a little painful. The dye shot through my left tube with ease but was having a little trouble coming through the right. With a little tilt the dye burst right through. From the x-ray the doctor said it looked like I had some scarring. “WHAAAAAAT?” He asked a series of questions as to why I might have the scarring. I didn’t fit into any of those categories. So what was he seeing?

While I got dressed he continued to examine the x-rays. Fear struck! I got nervous and cried a little. Listen I’ve never been that girl planning out her life with when I was gonna get married and how many kids I would have or if I would even have kids at all. But when I heard that something could be wrong with me and it could prevent me from having a choice, it set me back a little.

I pulled it together and waited for him to come back with the final results. Turns out it wasn’t scarring at all. I had uterine polyps.  Uterine polyps are abnormal growths of tissue that tend to grow in round or oval shapes on the wall of the uterus. Most of them are noncancerous but they can prevent sperm from getting to the uterus to implant. Apparently I had quite a few of them. I have had them surgically removed THREE times now. Not so much because they were causing me any pain issues but more so to make sure that when I was trying to conceive the area would be all clear.

I have an overwhelming amount friends who have or are suffering from fibroids. These growths usually develop within the muscle tissue of the uterine walls and are different from polyps because they are not generated from the uterine lining.  Hormone imbalance (estrogen production) can be a factor as to why fibroids form and vary in size. But there has not been an exact cause as to why they develop. I’ve heard stories of fibroids growing to the size of a cantaloupe. The pain they can cause can be immobilizing to the point of passing out. This happened to a very good friend of mine. It is a terrible thing to have to go through but up to 40% of women 35 and older have uterine fibroids, in which African-American women are at greater risk. As if we don’t have enough issues, right?

They can be treated with removal — but can and most likely will come back —  by a hysterectomy or a procedure called embolization which shrinks the fibroids. According to RadiologyInfo.com because there has not been enough study about embolization and it’s impact on infertility, doctor’s suggest that if you are planning to have children that surgical removal is recommended. The surgery I had to remove my polyps is called a Polypectomy.

Ladies, it is so important to be aware of your body and get fully checked out so that you can do your best to combat some of these issues or at least minimize them. As a polyp former and not knowing exactly what causes them, I have worked to eat healthier, drink more water and exercise at least 30 minutes a day. It has not been easy but I am committed to having a healthier lifestyle. Whether changing my lifestyle will keep the polyps at bay, only time will tell but it’s best to be doing the right things for your overall health.

Share your journey with fibroids, polyps or cysts with us! I’d like to know what you’ve been able to do to move through it and help encourage others who are dealing with these issues.