Women health What every woman must know about fibroids

  • Published:

Fibroids affect 4 in 10 women between the ages of 35-54

play You are at an increased risk of developing fibroids if you are black

With fibroids affecting 4 in 10 women in Kenya, it is necessary to dig a bit deeper and explore what it means for women who have them and what their treatment options are; these among other unanswered questions about fibroids

Plive.co.ke teamed up with obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Jeffery Wahome to get a clearer insight on fibroids.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are benign growths that occur on the muscles of the uterus. This means that they are not cancerous.

Experts have revealed that over 65% of women are affected by fibroids by the age of 50, the worrying part being that most of these women have no clue that they have fibroids.

What causes fibroids?

There is no known cause for the occurrence of fibroids but you may be at increased risk if you:

  • Are between the ages of 35-54 years
  • Have a family history of fibroids
  • Are black or African American
  • Are overweight – More than 40% of Kenyan women have been classed as obese
  • Women who delay having a baby for too long

What are the effects of fibroids?

Excessive bleeding

Lower abdominal pain

Experiencing pain during sex

Recurrent miscarriages – it may damage the uterus which may make it hard for the fetus to attach itself.

Anemia due to the excessive bleeding

Frequent urination which occurs due to the obstruction of urine flow from the bladder which could eventually lead to kidney damage.

Infertility or reproductive problems – this occurs when the fibroid grows near the fallopian tubes which causes an obstruction.

Treatment methods

A hysterectomy is not the only treatment method for fibroids.

The location, size and number of fibroids determines the type of treatment method that will be taken.

Fibroids start to grow once menstruation begins. They may increase in size due to over-exposure of the uterus to high estrogen levels due to the uterus remaining idle.

Dr. Wahome identified a couple of treatment methods for fibroids.

Medication – There is medication that can be used to shrink the size of fibroids and also reduce a heavy flow of menstruation.

Myomectomy – This procedure involves removing the fibroids alone and leaving the uterus intact for women that wish to bear children. So it is still possible to get pregnant even after developing fiibroids.

Uterine Artery Embolization - It involves blocking the blood vessels that supply the fibroids, causing them to shrink. During the procedure, a special solution is injected through a small tube (catheter), which is guided by X-ray through a blood vessel in your leg. It's carried out under local anaesthetic, so you'll be awake but the area being treated will be numbed.

Hysterectomy – This is surgery that is performed by removing the fibroids along with the entire uterus. Dr. Wahome advises this treatment method for women that do not plan to have more children, if they have any.

A hysterectomy can be done in several ways including through the vagina or through a small incision in the abdomen.

This is also the most permanent solution for treating fibroids.

Further discussion with your doctor will help you come up with the best treatment option for you.

Preventative methods

Visit your gynecologist and get a scan and ultra sound done. It is the surest way of finding out whether you have fibroids.

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