Self-esteem is affected by many factors — and one of them is having uterine fibroids. Fibroids cause more than just pain — they can also have a negative impact on a woman’s quality of life. Lower self-esteem, negative body image, anxieties and fears about relationships and sexuality can be linked to fibroids.
Self-esteem and fibroids – a study explores the relationship
A study conducted in 2014 by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine showed the psychological toll of living with fibroids. In that study, 48 women who were suffering from diagnosed fibroid pain were examined in regards to their emotional and psychological relationship to their fibroids.
What the study revealed was that most of the women experienced emotional reactions to their fibroids and related fibroid pain. These emotions ranged from mild worry to stronger feelings of fear and anxiety, to symptoms as severe as depression. In addition, a feeling of lack of control and helplessness afflicted more than half of these women. This was due the difficulty of managing fibroid symptoms such as pain and heavy and often unpredictable menstrual bleeding.
As a result of these negative emotions and sense of helplessness, most of the women struggled with self-esteem and the feeling that they don’t have control over their own bodies. They worried about their appearance and their weight, and often, those worries interfered with their ability to be intimate with their partners.
Fibroids suffering is not “normal”
Clearly, fibroid pain and other symptoms carry a high psychological toll. But the study revealed that many women think they have no choice but to endure the symptoms of fibroids. And with them, the emotional and psychological problems they can cause.
Often, the reason why many women ignore or minimize fibroid pain is a misunderstanding regarding what is normal as far as menstrual cycles and symptoms of fibroids. A 2014 study found that women often believed that, while excessive menstrual symptoms were intrusive and difficult, they were part of being a woman. Even after the fibroids were diagnosed, most women in the study continued to believe this falsehood.
Fibroids treatments don’t have to be surgical
In addition, historic fibroid treatments like myomectomies and hysterectomies are not desirable to many women. For most, undergoing the risk of major surgery isn’t desirable, especially when women want to preserve their fertility.
The good news is, there are minimally invasive procedures, such as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) that is very safe and effective. Minimally invasive treatments have a strong track record of improving patient quality of life.
By removing the fibroids and their symptoms, also improves their psychological and emotional landscape as well. For example, a two-year study looked at the effect a minimally procedure. Over time, follow-up questionnaires tracked patient improvement.
What the study found was that patients experienced significant improvements in quality of life within the first three months after treatment. These improvements that lasted over the course of the two years. Significantly, only 4.8 percent of the women required any additional treatments for their fibroids.
VIVA EVE can help relieve your uterine fibroids
Hopefully, more women can become aware of the minimally invasive options available for dealing with their fibroids and resulting symptoms. With awareness, women can relieve the symptoms that lead to low self-esteem and other psychological distress.
The doctors at VIVA EVE have years of experience treating uterine fibroids and adenomyosis through the minimally-invasive UFE.
We provide high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient we see. We’ll partner with you to determine the best way to treat your problematic symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Sources for information referenced in this post
- Ghant, M.S. et al. “An altered perception of normal: a qualitative assessment of women’s experiences with symptomatic uterine fibroids”, Fertility & Sterility. Sept 2014; Vol. 102(3):255.
- Ghant, M.S. et al. “Beyond the physical: a qualitative assessment of the emotional burden of symptomatic uterine fibroids on women’s mental health”, Fertility & Sterility. Sept 2014; Vol. 102(3):329.
- Guido et al. “Radiofrequency volumetric thermal ablation of fibroids: a prospective, clinical analysis of two years’ outcome from the Halt trial.” Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2013 11:139.