Response to question “How to cure fibroids”?
Fibroids are tumors that develop inside the muscle of the uterus. They are the most common tumors in women and they are generally benign (meaning not cancerous). The exact cause of fibroids is unknown. However, as fibroids tend to grow during reproductive years and get smaller after the menopause, there is an indication that the sex hormones (oestrogens and progestogen) are implicated. They are more common in women of Black African origin.
Fibroids can grow anywhere in the uterus and are named differently depending on where they grow:-
- Intramural fibroids grow within the muscle tissue of the uterus. This is the most common place for fibroids to form.
- Subserous fibroids grow from the outside wall of the uterus into the pelvis.
- Submucous fibroids grow from the inner wall into the middle of the uterus.
- Pedunculated fibroids grow from the outside wall of the uterus and are attached to the uterus by a narrow stalk.
In general treatment is only required if the fibroids are causing symptoms. The fact that fibroids are found during routine examination does not generally mean that action is indicated although you should have regular check-ups/ultrasound scans for reassurance that the fibroids are not growing bigger.
The treatment for fibroids depends on what symptoms they are causing. For instance, if a woman in her ‘childbearing years’ complains of heavy periods and/or severe pain due to small fibroids, medical treatment would be considered before resorting to surgery. There are certain medications that can be used to treat or improve the symptoms caused by fibroids and there are also medications that are prescribed to help ‘shrink’ the fibroid.
If fibroids become particularly large they may require surgical removal. Some fibroids are so large that they distort the cavity of the uterus resulting in menstrual disturbance or fertility issues. Occasionally, some fibroids can be squeezed out to appear at the cervix. Other fibroids migrate to the outer surface of the uterus and may press on other pelvic structures such as the bladder.
A good gynaecologist would generally assess the size of the uterus by comparing it to the size expected during a pregnancy. As an approximate guide, if the uterine size is larger than 18 weeks size due to the presence of fibroids, surgery is probably indicated. In younger women who wish to retain their fertility, the fibroids can be shelled out of the uterus (a procedure called ‘myomectomy’). If fertility is not a requisite, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is likely to be the offered.
The decision whether to undergo a myomectomy is one to be taken seriously and after consulting with more than one Gynaecologist. It has been estimated that in 1 in every 100 myomectomies, uncontrollable bleeding occurs and in such circumstances a hysterectomy becomes necessary as a life-saving procedure.
There are other operative treatments for fibroids:- For example, ‘endometrial ablation’ – a procedure that involves removing the lining of the uterus using different methods such as laser energy, microwave heating or a heated loop wire. This method is usually only recommended for fibroids that are close to the inner lining of the uterus. Another operative treatment is known as ‘uterine artery embolisation’ – a method that focuses on the blood vessel responsible for majority of the blood supply to the uterus. The objective is to starve the blood supply to the fibroids. The starved fibroids should then disappear or become smaller.
Several other methods (medication and operative) are currently being researched and tried at hospitals. Women should be fully informed about what type of fibroids they have, the size and the various treatment options available including their advantages and disadvantages before proceeding to choose a method to treat their fibroids.
There are hundreds of herbal/traditional remedies that claim to ‘cure’ fibroids, many of which have no scientific/medical evidence to back up their effectiveness or risks. Women should be informed consumers and should seek different opinions before undertaking any course of action to treat their fibroids.Do you have questions about feminine health issues, pregnancy & childbirth? LagosMums has partnered with FOCUSIMS, which is an International Midwifery Service that provides up-to-date and evidence based advice and support on feminine health, pregnancy and childbirth and neonatal/infant care issues. If you have a questions you would like FOCUSIMS to answer please send an email to [email protected] or [email protected].
For more information about FOCUSIMS® contact them on 01-7629779 or 08188192011, e-mail [email protected] or visit the website www.focusims.com. LagosMums get a 15% discount on any of their services, but you must be signed up as a LM member.