A Lagos-based gynaecologist, Dr Wale Farayola, says heavy menstruation is one of the major complaints in people with fibroid.
Farayola, told Our correspondent in Lagos on Monday that fibroids are non-cancerous growths made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue in the uterus.
According to him, fibroids can develop at any time during a woman’s childbearing years.
“Heavy menstruation or bleeding with or without pain is one of the major presenting complaints in people with fibroids.
“Some may have their menstruation extending beyond the normal time of three to seven days.
“Symptoms include menstrual disturbance (irregular bleeding), menstrual pattern may become irregular and the bleeding might be heavy in the presence of fibroid polyp or when a submucous fibroid become ulcerated.
“A large mass of fibroid may compress the surrounding organs and present corresponding symptoms like frequent urination or retention of urine.
“Fibroids may also cause mechanical distortion of the fallopian tubes which may cause infertility,’’ he said.
The gynaecologist said that no treatment was required if a fibroid had no symptoms.
“However, fibroids that enlarge the uterus to about the size of a 12-weeks pregnancy, whether with symptoms or not, should preferably be removed.
“Treatment could be medical or surgical. Medical treatment is the method of ovarian suppression using a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone analogue.
“These suppress circulating estradiol and progesterone levels by shutting down the pituitary-ovarian axis.
“Unfortunately, while very effective in shrinking fibroids when ovarian function returns, the fibroids regrow to their previous dimensions.
“Also long-term use results in significant bone loss,’’ the gynaecologist said.
Farayola said that some surgical treatments for fibroid include polypectomy, vaginal hysterectomy, vaginal myomectomy, abdominal hysterectomy and abdominal myomectomy.
He said that the recurrence rate of fibroids is extremely low, especially with newer operative techniques.