The dilemma caused by uterine fibroid

Angel Natukunda, from Kanombe in Kigali, discovered that she had three fibroids in her womb at the age of 35. In the course of the discovery, she found that the only way to get rid of the fibroids was to undergo a surgery.
Most women who are diagnosed with uterine fibroid worry a lot about its implications to their health. Net photo.
Most women who are diagnosed with uterine fibroid worry a lot about its implications to their health. Net photo.

Angel Natukunda, from Kanombe in Kigali, discovered that she had three fibroids in her womb at the age of 35. In the course of the discovery, she found that the only way to get rid of the fibroids was to undergo a surgery.

“For a long time close to three years, I had heavy menstrual bleeding at times with blood clots, urinating more often than usual; my menstrual periods lasted longer than normal, cramps and pain during intercourse,” says Natukunda.

However, she was not aware of fibroids until she sought medical attention.

“I knew little about fibroids, I thought it was an infection so I always took antibiotics until the pain became too much and I had to go for a scan,” Natukunda says.

Many women have gone through this pain without minding to establish the root cause of the pain; they often buy painkillers to ease the pain not knowing what they are getting into.

Uterine fibroids are benign tumours that originate in the uterus (womb). Although they are composed of the same smooth muscle fibres as the uterine wall (myometrium), they are many times denser than normal myometrium. Uterine fibroids are usually round or semi-round in shape, according to online medical sources.

Dr Samuel Kagali, a gynaecologist at Kacyiru Police Hospital in Kigali, says fibroids are benign tumours, meaning non-cancerous growths in the womb that sometimes cause heavy menstrual periods and at times prolonged urinary problems and abdominal swellings, miscarriages, failure to conceive and abdominal heaviness.

However, at times there might be no particular symptoms. Dr Kagali says he attends to at least 10-15 people suffering from uterine fibroids a month.

“Fibroids tend to swell when levels of oestrogen are high, for instance during pregnancy. They also shrink when oestrogen levels are low, especially during menopause,” Dr Kagali says.

“Fibroids can be treated or managed conservatively by managing the symptoms or through carrying out operations mainly to remove the fibroids and sometimes the uterus might be removed,” he adds.

Another method that is non-surgical is the uterine artery embolisation which stops the blood supply to the fibroid, causing it to shrink and eventually die.

Dr Kagali urges that women suffering from fibroids before choosing the treatment that suits them; it’s advisable to first discuss it with their gynaecologist since treatment depends on several factors, including age, type of fibroid, sternness of symptoms and whether one would still love to have children and if they are currently pregnant.

He says the severity of signs or symptoms will count on various factors, such as the dimensions/size and location of the fibroids. These mainly occur among women who delay to conceive mostly above 30s.

However, they are also found in women of different ages and those who have already delivered.

Dr Alphonse Butoyi of Kibagabaga Hospital in Kigali says many women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms. However, abnormal uterine bleeding is the most common symptom of a fibroid.

“If the tumours are near the uterine lining, or interfere with the blood flow to the lining, they can cause heavy periods, painful periods, prolonged periods or spotting between menses. Women with excessive bleeding due to fibroids may develop iron deficiency anaemia. Uterine fibroids that are deteriorating can sometimes cause severe, localised pain,” Dr Butoyi says. 

Many people, he adds, confuse fibroids with other cancerous tumours. However, fibroids can easily be diagnosed by ultra sound scanning by qualified medical personnel. 

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News