Undergoing Surgery for Fibroids in Your Twenties
Chanel H. | July 20, 2020
By Chanel Harvey. Patient contributor published with permission and consent. This blog post does not reflect views and opitions of Acessa Health.
Your twenties should be the best years of your life, or at least that is what they tell you. A time for self-discovery and exploration. For many young women, that is the case. Unless, of course, you are dealing with symptomatic fibroids.
I was diagnosed with fibroids at 25 years old. I went to my gynecologist for an unrelated issue, and during my exam, she told me I had fibroids. I was completely surprised. I did not know what a fibroid was, and I was not experiencing any symptoms. Or at least that is what I thought. As it turns out, I did not know what I was experiencing wasn’t normal.
My First Surgery
My gynecologist recommended surgery because the fibroids were blocking my fallopian tubes. She suggested a laparoscopic myomectomy. She said it was a minimally invasive surgery for fibroids, and I would be in and out the same day. My doctor recommended it and my insurance covered it, so I went for it.
The surgery did not go well. After the surgery, I bled way more than is normal, so they kept me overnight in the hospital. I left the next day in a tremendous amount of pain, but happy to be heading home and hopeful that I would be back to normal soon. Instead, I was out of work for a month due to the pain and complications I experienced.
Return of the Fibroids
I eventually recovered from my laparoscopic-myomectomy and got back to living life the way I envisioned I would in my twenties. I was planning a trip to Mexico, and things were going well. In the middle of planning my vacation, I started to experience severe cramping and heavy bleeding during my periods. Realizing now that this was not normal, I scheduled an ultrasound. Turns out, the fibroids were back. And they were rearing their ugly heads right in the center of my uterus.
A friend referred me to Dr. Jessica Shepherd. The two of us went over all my options for treating my fibroids, but I decided to hold off for a bit. I wanted to live like a normal 29-year-old, and I was not ready for another surgery. My body must have taken the hint because right before I left for Mexico, my period stopped.
Facing the Facts – Time For a Second Surgery
I remember it like yesterday because it’s a feeling you don’t forget. I was standing in the grocery store, waiting to check out, and SWOOSH. That was it. I felt the blood rush out. I bled for 30 days straight after that. I knew it was time to call Dr. Shepherd.
We tried a few things first. Blood thinners, birth control, but nothing worked for me. I tried to avoid having another surgery, but the symptoms were affecting my life in so many ways. Besides the bleeding and the pain, I was always anxious. What if I bled through my pants? Plus, I was embarrassed that I had to get up every 30 minutes to change my pad while I was out with my friends. I could not handle it anymore and decided it was time to schedule my second surgery.
My Second Surgery for Fibroids – Finding Acessa
Dr. Shepherd knew the experience I had with the first surgery and understood the importance of finding an option that would allow me to get back to life sooner. That is why she recommended Acessa. She ensured me that Acessa was a minimally invasive procedure, and I could be back to life in 3-5 days.1
The difference between my experience with Acessa and a laparoscopic-myomectomy was night and day. After Acessa, I felt no pain. I was in and out of the hospital the same day, and I felt normal almost immediately. Instead of facing a month off work, I went out with my girlfriend the day after surgery. Today, my periods are 4 days instead of 8, and I am surprised if I get cramps on the first day. I feel relief. Now, at 31, I’m living my life the way I thought I would be six years ago, before my fibroid symptoms stopped me.
My Advice for Young Women Seeking Surgery for Fibroids
I learned a lot about fibroids during my treatment journey. For example, 70 percent of white women will experience fibroids by the time they are 50. That number jumps to 80% for black women of the same age. In fact, black women generally have an earlier age of onset when it comes to uterine fibroids, developing them in their 20s vs. in their 30s.2 Even in their 30s, 74% of black women will have multiple fibroids vs 31% of white women.3
These statistics were interesting to me. At the time, I felt so alone. None of my friends could relate to what I was going through. Understanding now that there are so many young women like me, I would like to give them my little piece of advice:
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- If you are in your twenties or thirties (or any age for that matter) and facing surgery for fibroids, make sure you ask questions. It can be intimidating, but you are your own best advocate, so do not be afraid to speak up.
- Talk to your family members & friends
- You cannot know how common something is if you do not talk about it. Find someone you are comfortable with and share what you are going through. It is an easy way to relieve some of the anxiety you might be feeling around your symptoms.
- Don’t stress out
- There is no normal way to live life in your twenties. That is all made up, so don’t let the fibroids cause you FOMO. You should, however, seek out treatment if your fibroid symptoms are disrupting your life. You have got important things to do, so don’t let them stop you.
- SG Chudnoff, et al. Outpatient Procedure for the Treatment and Relief of Symptomatic Uterine Myomas. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2013;121(5):1075–82.
- Stewart, E. A., Nicholson, W. K., Bradley, L., & Borah, B. J. (2013). The burden of uterine fibroids for African-American women: results of a national survey. Journal of women’s health (2002), 22(10), 807–816. https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2013.4334
- Baird DD, Dunson DB, Hill MV, Cousins D, Schechtman JM. High cumulative incidence of uterine leiomyoma in black and white women: ultrasound evidence. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003; 188:100 –107.
This is a personal story of one result. Individual results vary. Information contained on this site is not to be used as a substitute for talking to your doctor. You should always talk to your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Acessa Health encourages patients to seek medical attention for typical and atypical symptoms associated with fibroids to help achieve and maintain good health with as high a quality of life as possible. Although many patients may benefit from the Acessa Procedure, this treatment is not for everyone and results may vary. You should talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks and whether this treatment is right for you. Information contained on this site is not to be used as a substitute for talking to your doctor. You should always talk to your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Risks and complications associated with the Acessa procedure include, but are not limited to: skin burns from the dispersion of radiofrequency energy, mild intra-operative bleeding, transient urinary retention or urinary tract infection, adhesion formation, post-procedural discomfort (cramping, pelvic pain), and transient amenorrhea, infection, injury to adjacent structures, vaginal bleeding and temporary anemia, blood loss requiring transfusion or hysterectomy, pneumothorax, wound dehiscence, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus, treatment failure, and complications related to laparoscopy and/or general anesthesia including death. Insufficient data exist on which to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of Acessa procedure in women who plan future pregnancy. Therefore, the Acessa procedure is not recommended for women who are planning future pregnancy. There is limited data regarding pregnancy following the Acessa procedure, if you become pregnant following the Acessa procedure, you should contact your doctor immediately. Rx Only2