A fibroid is a medical term that means “a growth or tumor that is inside or around the muscle of the uterus”. These growths are some of the most common reproductive disorders that are prevalent in women. It has been concluded that over 60% of women of childbearing age will develop fibroids at some point in their life. The good news is that these growths are rarely cancerous. Most fibroids that develop are benign.
Fibroids need an elevated level of estrogen production so they can form within the body. This is one of the reasons why many women are not aware that they have fibroids until they become pregnant. Estrogen levels increase significantly during pregnancy, and they diminish during menopause. Fibroids can vary in their number and size. Some women have multiple fibroids that are as small as grapes, and other women may have one large fibroid the size of a grapefruit or larger. A fibroid can also develop in different locations within and on the uterus.
Most women do not know that they have fibroids because most of them do not cause any symptoms. Women that do have symptoms have reported everything from excessive or abnormal bleeding to excruciating pain and pressure in the pelvic area.
How Fibroids Affect Nigerian Women
Nigerian women and other women of color including Hispanic women have more diagnoses of fibroids than their white counterparts. The fibroids that Caucasian women do develop tend to be smaller and occur at a later age than Nigerian women. No one is sure why this is true, but there are several common signs and symptoms that most women have when they are plagued with fibroids:
A menstrual cycle that is not normal.
A large amount of bleeding during the menstrual cycle.
Heavy menstrual periods that are irregular.
Intense or uncomfortable pelvic pressure.
A Menstrual period that is painful.
The Complications That Can Occur Due To Fibroids
The greater risk of having fibroids is excessive blood loss during a menstrual cycle. The loss of blood can become so severe that a woman can develop anemia. The anemia can lead to emergency room visits, hospital stays, and blood transfusions. Some women often undergo hysterectomies to alleviate the problem.
Fibroids have also been known to cause infertility problems and miscarriages in pregnant women.
The Diagnosis of Fibroids
If you suspect that you have fibroids, you can make an appointment with your gynecologist. During the exam, your doctor will manually feel your pelvic area for the presence of a fibroid. They may also perform an ultrasound so they can see the exact location and size of the fibroid.
The Treatments That Are Available For Fibroids
Before you decide on a treatment for your fibroids, you have to consider a few things:
The symptoms you have
Do you want to have children in the future?
These things should be discussed with your doctor so you can choose the best option for you.
Anti-inflammation over the counter medicine like ibuprofen can help reduce pain.
Lupron is a hormone that can help reduce the size of a fibroid.
Birth control pills can reduce the length and flow of a menstrual cycle.
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus.
Myomectomy is the surgical removal of the fibroid.