July 08, 2023

July is Fibroid Awareness Month

July is Fibroid Awareness Month. Uterine fibroids, benign tumors of the uterus are prevalent world-wide. They were a very recent focus of the Campion Fund. Since our current focus is on pregnancy and birth, our July blog highlights a few facts about the impact of uterine fibroids on pregnancy and birth.

In many parts of the world fibroids are under treated. With the lack of care many myths occur. During the Campion Fund’s recent meeting on The Science, The Treatments and The Myths regarding fibroids which we planned and sponsored with The Fibroid Foundation Africa attendees mentioned the stigma associated with fibroids. In the villages of African countries uterine fibroids are linked so much to infertility, that young women with the condition are considered undesirable as marriage partners. This is a devastating situation for young women and severely impacts their lives. All countries health care systems including those in the United States must find ways to reach out to women with uterine fibroids for necessary education regarding the disease and to provide up-to-date treatment. Hysterectomy is still the definitive therapy for fibroids with the result being that the surgical removal of the uterus creates the inability for the woman to have a child of her own. Thus, a fear of treatment is created along with a desire to use care provided by non-medically trained providers. As a non-profit organization that support reproductive health through research, we urgently encourage  increased funding to study new, non-invasive medical therapies. Dr. James Segars at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, a member of our Scientific Advisory Board is a leading international expert on uterine fibroid treatment and is a leader in research on how and why fibroids develop and on new treatments. Two of our long- time supporters, Dr. Darlene Taylor, and Dr. Friederike Jayes were honored by mention of their work by the Dean of Duke University during her state of the school message recently as representative of community partnerships between Duke and North Carolina Central University. They are working to develop an enzyme treatment for fibroids which can be directly injected into the fibroid tissue as a way of preventing hysterectomies. We must point out that uterine  that 5-10% of infertile couples have difficulty becoming pregnant due to uterine fibroids. Fibroids that protrude into the uterine cavity (submucous fibroids and some intermural fibroids) are associated with infertility and miscarriage or spontaneous abortions. Not all women who have fibroids, however are infertile and with good health care during pregnancy and birth, outcomes are good. Vaginal births are possible although in some cases the fibroid is large enough to interfere with the birth process resulting in Cesarean-Section Birth.

Raising awareness of uterine fibroids is the first part of creating adequate health care for women. The Campion Fund will continue to do our part to provide education for all women about uterine fibroids and encourage research that will increase our knowledge about basic fibroid biology.

Further Reading:

https://www.contemporaryobgyn.net/view/the-relationship-between-uterine-fibroids-and-infertility

https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/womens-health-articles/fibroids-fertility-pregnancy

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/gynecology_obstetrics/specialty_areas/fertility-center/conditions-we-treat/fibroids.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/fibroid-clinic/overview/ovc-20508774

https://www.thewhitedressproject.org/ 

https://www.fibroidfoundation.org/

Freytag D, Günther V, Maass N, Alkatout I. Uterine Fibroids and Infertility. Diagnostics (Basel). 2021 Aug 12;11(8):1455. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics11081455. PMID: 34441389; PMCID: PMC8391505.