July is Fibroids Awareness Month: Why It’s Important and How to Show Your Support
July marks Fibroids Awareness Month 2022, an event meant to raise awareness of and spread education about women’s reproductive health, as well as mobilize support and advocacy for patients impacted by uterine fibroids.
The Uterine Fibroid Epidemic
Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow on the inside and outside of the uterus, primarily during a woman’s childbearing years. Up to 80% of women have at least one fibroid by the time they turn 50. While some fibroids cause no symptoms at all, others can severely limit quality of life and interfere with daily activities by causing:
- Heavy, unpredictable bleeding,
- Debilitating abdominal, pelvic, back, and leg pain,
- Abdominal bloating and protrusion,
- Pain during sexual penetration
- Urinary and bowel problems, and
- Complications with fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth.
For some women, abnormally heavy bleeding becomes dangerous enough to require blood transfusions.
The Impact of Fibroids and Ignoring Women’s Health
All of these symptoms can dramatically impact women’s personal, social, and professional lives, which in turn can impact their families, their financial stability, and their mental health and overall well-being.
The long-standing stigma surrounding discussions of women’s health issues in the United States has been a major factor in the lack of knowledge, research, and resources that support women’s health, especially their reproductive health. This sad fact affects millions of lives, and costs billions of dollars in productivity and healthcare each year.
Take Action During Fibroids Awareness Month
With its focus on spreading knowledge and encouraging advocacy, Fibroids Awareness Month is really about empowerment. The more you know, the better questions you can ask, and the more skillfully you can advocate, for yourself and for others.
There are a number of national organizations, both governmental agencies and private nonprofits, that focus on fibroids education, advocacy, and research for uterine fibroids. They can also help you find peer support groups, and offer various ways, such as workshops and conferences, to connect with others who live with fibroids and understand your struggles.
If you’re living with fibroids, you can also:
- Share the story of your fibroid journey at The White Dress Project
- Share information on social media with the hashtag #wecanwearwhite
- Educate yourself and the people around you about risk factors
- Seek out events that promote fibroids awareness and self-advocacy, such as The White Dress Project’s EmPOWERment Experience in Washington, D.C.
Both patients and advocates can also take action by:
- Contacting your senators and urging them to support S.2444 The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act of 2021
- Contacting your representatives and encouraging them to support H.R.879 Supporting the Designation of July 2022 as Uterine Fibroids Awareness Month
- Sharing your story and listening to people’s stories
- Advocating for your own informed, culturally competent care
- Advocating at your place of business for acknowledgment of and compassion for the effects of symptomatic fibroids on working women
Many small gestures, made collectively, are powerful in driving awareness and support for this critical health issue.