The founder and medical director of Fibroid Institute Dallas, Dr. Suzanne Slonim, and her co-physician Dr. Uma Reddy, can hardly believe it’s been 10 months since Texas became the 9th state to recognize July as Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month. While cliche, it does feel like yesterday when Dr. Slonim stepped beyond her facility and began reaching out to anyone and everyone for help with educating and inspiring Texas legislators, including those in the city of Dallas, Dallas County, and the State of Texas, about this important yet under-discussed topic.
And the good news is that the momentum from that collaborative effort never stopped. The importance of Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month for women, their families and communities, and the healthcare industry can’t be understated. New initiatives are generating more events, community support, education, and money raised for the cause.
At Fibroid Institute Dallas, we agree it is important to educate women through critical awareness efforts, all while being at the forefront of a non-invasive treatment option empowering fibroid patients to get back to enjoying life.
Spotlight on Fibroid Awareness: Then vs. Now
Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month was created to draw attention to uterine fibroids. Research estimates that 171 million women worldwide suffer from fibroids, which are noncancerous growths of the uterus. The condition can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from painful periods and back pain to fatigue, constipation, infertility, and miscarriages. While some women don’t experience any symptoms, many do.
Some of the more common life-interrupting symptoms include:
- Painful periods, debilitating cramps, pelvic pain, and pressure
- Heavy or abnormal menstrual bleeding
- Painful intercourse
- Fatigue and weakness
- Bloating or swelling in the lower abdomen
- Back or leg pain
- Urinary frequency
- Constipation, diarrhea, and rectal discomfort
The lack of dialogue and misinformation that has existed for so many years only contributes to those statistics. Many women are either unaware they have fibroids, are hesitant to report, normalize their symptoms as part of being a woman, or do not have access to adequate information or treatment.
That is not to suggest that the problem has now gone away. As of last year, 61% of women aren’t aware of treatment options for fibroids. On top of that, fibroids still affect 70-80% of all women during childbearing years and disproportionately impact women of color. In fact, 80% of Black women will develop fibroids by the time they are 50 compared to 70% of white women. Each year in the United States, almost $8 billion is spent on obstetric outcomes attributed to fibroids. Uterine fibroids cost women in the U.S. more than $17 billion annually through absenteeism and short-term disability.
But states are stepping up to recognize July as Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month. This now includes Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. It is also recognized in Washington D.C. These municipalities are committed to providing more women with support and accurate information about fibroid treatment and alternatives, as well as pouring money into research and awareness programs that previously didn’t receive adequate funding.
Here locally, the city of Dallas and Dallas County are also onboard. State Representative Senfronia Thompson presented legislation for Texas House Bill 1966–designation of July as Uterine Fibroids Awareness Month and House Bill 1967–Improved Uterine Fibroid Education and Research. Both bills were passed by Governor Abbott in September 2021.
This year is the first Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month (UFAM) officially recognized and commemorated by those entities.
Read more about Dr. Slonim’s push behind-the-scenes last year.
Many Organizations and Physicians Support the Cause
The goal is to have Fibroid Awareness Month observed at a national level so that more women—especially those right here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area—can be supported and cared for while at the same time understanding their condition and gaining confidence from the very start. As a result, many organizations and physicians continue to make their voices heard in a variety of ways.
Fibroid Awareness Month has gained steam in recent years because of organizations such as The White Dress Project, the nation’s preeminent nonprofit patient support organization for women with fibroids. Supporters are encouraged to wear white on July 1st for Fibroid Awareness Month. Beyond that, physicians across the country recognize fibroids as a public health crisis and are doing all they can to spread the word. Dr. Slonim founded Fibroid Institute Dallas because she recognized that America was facing a public health crisis. Fibroids have a significant impact on the quality of life for millions of women, disrupting work and social life to the point of being debilitating.
Recently, a separate nonprofit volunteer-run organization called Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month Project (UFAM Project) in Texas has been launched to put together events, spur continued community support on a larger scale, gather more sponsors, and raise money. To learn more, visit their website at txfam.org.
“As someone who has the knowledge and ability to solve the problem in a less invasive manner than a hysterectomy, I decided to dedicate my practice to expanding access to and educating women about fibroid treatment alternatives,” Dr. Slonim explained in a media interview last year. “My practice has the only interventional radiologists in the region who solely focus on treating fibroids with uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a minimally invasive procedure to treat the condition without surgery.”
UFE Is an Alternative to Fibroid Surgery
For years, the standard method of care for fibroids included fibroid surgery such as a hysterectomy and myomectomy. In some cases, they still are the prescribed treatment depending on each woman’s unique case. But in today’s world of evolving technology, it is always wise to seek a second opinion and be advised on other options.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a unique, low-risk procedure for fibroid treatment that avoids often complicated and bloody procedures such as a hysterectomy or myomectomy. Our own fibroid specialists, Dr. Slonim and Dr. Reddy, will insert a tiny catheter at your left wrist. Utilizing X-ray guidance, small particles are injected through the uterine arteries into the vessels supplying blood to your fibroids. This blocks the blood flow to the fibroids, causing the fibroids to shrink and die.
Advantages of UFE at Fibroid Institute Dallas include:
- Covered by most major medical insurance
- No hospital stay
- Shorter recovery period (average of one week)
- Tiny wrist puncture, no need for vaginal access
- Uterus is spared
- Treats multiple fibroids at once
- Over 90% effective in reducing symptoms
In cases where surgery is unavoidable, UFE can help prepare a patient for a hysterectomy or myomectomy. The UFE procedure can make fibroid surgery easier for both the patient and surgeon by reducing blood loss and allowing a less invasive approach.
You Have Options Other Than Fibroid Surgery at Fibroid Institute Dallas
Fibroid Institute Dallas is the go-to source for educating patients about uterine fibroids and minimally invasive procedures such as UFE. Fibroid physicians Dr. Suzanne Slonim and Dr. Uma Reddy, with fibroid nurse practitioner Esther Kibira, at Fibroid Institute Dallas are the fibroid experts you need in your corner.
At Fibroid Institute Dallas, we are dedicated to helping you become #FibroidFree. Request a free 10-15 minute phone screening to determine if you are eligible for fibroid treatment without surgery. After the screening, if you qualify for UFE, you can schedule your onsite or telehealth consultation.
State-of-the-art equipment at our Fibroid Institute Dallas North office offers availability of onsite ultrasound and MRI imaging, allowing for a much more efficient evaluation of each patient’s candidacy for UFE. Depending on insurance, a patient can have her MRI and be seen immediately afterward, even possibly get scheduled during the same visit for her UFE. Most major medical insurance providers cover the cost of UFE.
Thousands of women have had their fibroids symptoms treated with UFE. Get started now by calling 214-838-6440 or completing the form below.
Fibroid Institute Dallas serves the DFW area including Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, HEB, Arlington, Hutchins, Irving, Duncanville, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, Cockrell Hill, Highland Park, University Park, Park Cities, Garland, Mesquite, Richardson, Dallas, Addison, Carrollton, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, and all of North Texas.
Prior to starting any new treatment or if you have questions regarding a medical condition, always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.