….continued from 3 important things every woman should know about fibroids
1. Can they be treated?
Yes, fibroids can be treated but treatment is tailored specifically to individual need as it is based on her age, health status, complaints, the number of fibroids, amongst other factors.
Sometimes, ‘watchful waiting’ is instituted wherein close observation is done usually because there are no symptoms or they do not adversely affect the woman.
Options for active treatment may include;
• Methods to stop heavy bleeding, including drugs and contraceptive preparations,
• Drugs to shrink the swellings,
• Procedures to destroy the fibroids using a radioactive substance or some other new technology,
• Surgery; this does not give 100% guarantee that the fibroids won’t return and also does not always involve removal of the uterus.
Some women may need to be treated for anaemia as well. (low blood level which could result from excessive bleeding during menstrual periods)
2. Can I prevent them?
Sadly, fibroids are not like malaria where an insecticide treated net offers protection. There are no proven ways to prevent them. But a healthy lifestyle inclusive of a healthy diet and a healthy dose of exercise are good habits to indulge in.
3. Can they stop me from having babies?
In some women, fibroids have been found to reduce their chances of getting pregnant although they do not outright prevent pregnancy in every circumstance. For women trying to conceive who also have fibroids, the option of surgery is usually presented and they go on to have babies afterwards.
4. What tests may be done?
Further examination, including a pelvic examination is usually done in order to assess the shape and size of the uterus.
Tests will be carried out including an ultrasound scan (where a probe is placed on the woman’s tummy or in her vagina to visualize the uterus and get an idea of the location and size of the swelling(s) and some blood tests. Other imaging tests may be done as required.
5. Are they associated with any other conditions?
As earlier mentioned, fibroids can increase in size rapidly during pregnancy and may cause severe tummy pain. But they tend to disappear/stop growing at delivery, and after menopause (when a woman stops having menstrual periods) because of the drop in oestrogen levels.
It is important we remember that fibroids are extremely common and majority of the women who have them have no symptoms. If we do have symptoms, seeing a specialist is advised so we can have the best care for our specific needs.
Please feel absolutely free to JOIN the conversation and share your experiences with fibroids in the comments section below.