There is a movement sweeping through the heart of Atlanta. If you listen closely you may hear about it, but my guess is that you are much more likely to see it first. In communities across the metro area and beyond, women everywhere are wearing white pants. It doesn’t matter that it was after Labor Day (or before Easter). These women are making a statement, and it isn’t about fashion. This sisterhood, these women – they are part of the fabric of a new kind of freedom. This fabric, this statement, this white pants movement represents freedom from fibroids!
According to Dr. John Lipman of the renowned Atlanta Fibroid Center, one of the nation’s leading uterine fibroid experts, the white pants are a metaphor.
“Wearing white pants represents the freedom that women have once they are no longer a prisoner to their periods because of bleeding from fibroids.”
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors of the uterus. Though the fibroids are benign, the symptoms they cause can negatively affect every aspect of a woman’s life. Abnormally heavy periods, along with increased urinary frequency, pain and anemia are all too common for women suffering from fibroids; as is missed work and mental and physical exhaustion. However, it is that fibroids bleeding, those horrendous periods that just won’t stop, that imprisons women’s lives.
Bleeding from fibroids bleeding that typically is excessive controls everything from wardrobe selection to participation in social activities. This kind of bleeding is relentless, seemingly never-ending and some women feel as if they might bleed to death. Missing work for two or three days each month is a frequent occurrence. Some women are even afraid to leave their homes.
“Every part of everything they do becomes tied to their menstrual cycle,” says Dr. Lipman. “The way they live their lives, including what they can and cannot wear, is related to bleeding from fibroids. Wearing white pants is something that most women who suffer with fibroids can never do because of the fear of embarrassing accidents. That is why the idea of wearing white pants again has come to be a victory flag for the former fibroid sufferers who have found relief with Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE).”
While one in three women have fibroids, three out of every four African American women carry this burden. Most that suffer from symptoms from fibroids are only told about surgical treatments. Solutions that may seem equally as bad or worse than the problem.
One such surgical option is a myomectomy. A myomectomy could remove some of the fibroids. However, while this can provide relief, this major surgery is often a temporary fix, as the fibroids that are left behind after surgery continue to grow. These growing fibroids often bring a return of the woman’s symptoms within 5 years of her surgery and sometimes much sooner than that. It also has the potential to turn in to a hysterectomy. Therefore, every myomectomy patient has to know that it is possible to wake up from myomectomy surgery without their uterus (and sign a release attesting to that fact).
The other main surgical option – a hysterectomy – certainly ends the burden of fibroids, but leaves the woman without her uterus which can result in a whole set of new problems. Women may not be aware of these post-surgical issues that can come with having a hysterectomy. These problems include sexual dysfunction, depression, and urinary incontinence. In addition, losing your uterus increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and osteoporosis. So why does the cost of freedom have to be so high?
It doesn’t! Uterine Fibroid Embolization or UFE is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of women who suffered from uterine fibroids. Women can get relief from their fibroids while avoiding major surgery. And, most importantly, women can keep their uterus!
Enter the white pants phenomena!
Women around Atlanta are joining together to celebrate their freedom and to educate their sisters on UFE.
“We do a lot of community education events where we invite women to come out to hear about fibroids and UFE. We often invite women who have had UFE and now have the freedom to wear white to come to the event and share their testimony. While I can talk about fibroids for hours, it is much more meaningful and impactful when one of our patients speaks who has lived through the suffering and embarrassment of heavy periods and pain and is now transformed and on the other side of it and has her life back.” explains Dr Lipman.
Almost immediately, women started whispering that they wished they could wear white pants. When this whisper became a roar, it was hard to ignore the message. These women knew all too well that they couldn’t wear white; that they had to hide behind dark and bulky clothing. These women’s whispers started this movement. It is really a sisterhood. A sisterhood that is now being represented by the donning of white pants as a show of solidarity.
Other women’s groups followed the example. The White Dress Project, Care About Fibroids, and The Fibroid Foundation are just some of the groups that have joined in this effort. It is a rallying cry for those women who are demanding options and who are making empowered decisions to take back their lives. It is a victory celebration for those who no longer suffer. It is a beacon of hope for those still waiting for relief.
Learn about UFE. Empower yourself with knowledge. Put on your white pants and show the world that you are free! Tell your sisters that surgery isn’t their only option. If you are one of the millions of women in the US who, because of fibroids, cannot wear white pants, today is the day to start your journey to freedom!
For more information on uterine fibroids or the UFE procedure, please go to ATLii.com or make an appointment with Dr. Lipman directly by calling 770-953-2600.