Fibroid side effects such as painful and heavy periods, frequent or urgent urination problems often result in challenges at the workplace.

Dear Fibroids: I’m Tired Of “Keepin’ It Moving”

Uterine fibroids are the most common pelvic tumors seen in women. It is the most common reason why women have heavy menstrual periods. Among other fibroid side effects that these benign tumors cause is significant pelvic pain which can radiate into the lower back, hips, buttocks, and down the legs. Fibroids also often lead to increased urinary frequency and waking up at night to urinate. In short, fibroids can be extremely disruptive to women.

This burden is disproportionately felt by women of color who suffer from fibroids significantly more often than other racial groups. Up to 80% of African-American women have these tumors, and this disruption in their lives can be very difficult.

How does one cope with fibroids side effects such as episodes of bleeding where blood pours out of their body causing accidents to their clothes, their linens, their furniture? These episodes can strike without warning; causing women to wear extra gear, even diapers to prevent accidents in blood. They often carry around extra clothing with them at their job, in their car, wherever they might go. They often have to plan work and social events around their menstrual. This added blood loss each month often leads to chronic fatigue from the iron deficiency anemia from these fibroids.

Despite all of this misery, women continue to work through it, in other words, “keep it moving”. The reasons behind the “keep it moving” are many. Some go to work because of a very strong work ethic. Some because they had to for financial reasons. Consistently being out at work could jeopardize their employment. For some women, despite the significant symptoms they cause, fibroids are not an illness. Therefore, if you’re not severely “ill”, you take the fibroid symptoms as they come, “keep it moving” and you go to work. For others, they work in a male-dominated workplace where suffering from heavy periods and pelvic pain are a woman’s lot in life, and their female identity is constantly scrutinized.  Maybe they work through it to combat negative stereotypes of women or women of color in the workplace.

While battling fibroids, women of color have had to contend with near-perfect attendance, exemplary work performance, while at the same time trying to maintain a reasonable work-life balance.  African-American women often feel not only a sense of responsibility to themselves, but also for women who may come after them. This is particularly true if it is at a job that is underrepresented by minority employees. How will they be respected by their male counterparts if they call out repeatedly, or ask others to cover for them, or go home unexpectedly despite the ravages of their periods?  There was no other choice but to “keep it moving”.

If you’re suffering from fibroids and are tired of “keep it moving”, come see one of the nation’s leading fibroid experts, Dr. John Lipman of the Atlanta Fibroid Center. To make an appointment, please call 770-953-2600, or go to

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