Hope for women with fibroids, alternative cure for condition revealed
Fibroids are more common in women who have never been pregnant, plus weight gain and belly fat increase the risk
A reader has written to me saying she’s been advised to have a hysterectomy for fibroids.
Do I think she should go ahead with the operation? Well, it’s complicated.
I believe in keeping the anatomy of the body normal as far as possible, with surgery as a last resort.
I believe the same when considering various treatments for fibroids because there are some that don’t entail removing your uterus for, what are, benign growths of uterine muscle.
The decision to operate should encompass several facts – the number and size of the fibroids, the intractability of troublesome symptoms (often heavy bleeding) and whether the fibroids are affecting fertility or are causing bloating and bladder problems.
Fibroids are the most common benign tumours in women. They may be single or multiple and their size varies from a few millimetres to 30cm or more.
By the age of 50, more than two-thirds of white women and more than 80% of black women have had at least one fibroid.
I was once told I had five. They shrivel after the menopause, commonly cause no symptoms and usually don’t require treatment.
If treatment is suggested women should be made aware of all available treatment options – medical and surgical – and why either may or may not be right for them
Hysterectomy is effective, but other conservative surgical and radiological treatments may be preferable. Treatment should always be individualised.
Heredity plays a part as the risk is higher in women whose female relatives have fibroids and frequency increases with age during your fertile years.
Fibroids are more common in women who have never been pregnant, plus weight gain and belly fat increase the risk.
However, hormonal contraception reduces the risk.
Fibroids only require treatment when they cause symptoms.
Then treatment divides into watch and wait, drugs, uterine-preserving surgery and lastly hysterectomy.
This is the ultimate treatment but is more radical and final than many women want.
Medical treatments worth trying for fibroids include mefenamic acid which will reduce heavy menstrual bleeding and pain with few side effects.
Fibroids can also be shrunk by cutting off their blood supply by undergoing uterine artery embolisation.
Surgical removal of individual fibroids (myomectomy) leaves the uterus intact.
The main reason for this rather than hysterectomy is to preserve fertility or a desire to avoid hysterectomy