Fibroids? What are they? Let me begin by saying that if there is ever a known enemy of the female body, it is fibroids; they are the ENEMY!!! They are babies without heads or hearts so do ridiculous shit! They are not your friends. They creep in slowly and before you know it, they have taken over your life and changing your wardrobe from bright to dark colours and loose blouses and dresses.
On a more serious note, fibroids, sometimes referred to as myoma/leiomyoma are benign (non-cancerous) tumours that grow in or around the muscular wall of the uterus. They are made up of tough muscle and fibrous tissues. Fibroids rarely become fossilized but they do. There are different types of fibroids and each is determined by the location. They are categorized as:
- Submucosal: These arefibroids which grow into the uterine cavity. They are located where a fetus should be. My largest fibroid which was about 14-15cm was located here.
- Intramural: fibroids that grow within the wall of the uterus. The second largest fibroid of 10-12cm was located in this region of my uterus and so were the smallest ones.
- Subserosal: fibroids which grow on the outside of the uterus. They could even appear in the cervix. I have heard the worst things about.
- Pedunculated fibroids These grow on stalks that grow out from the surface of the uterus or into the cavity of the uterus. They might look like mushrooms and I call them uvula fibroids because they hang like the uvula. I honestly cannot imagine what it’s like having those hanging inside your uterus. Does it swing or stay still? (Bad joke? Okay!).
Depending on the size and location, fibroids can have various symptoms such as heavy bleeding (which lead to anemia), frequent urination and sometimes infertility or repeated miscarriages. You would think that with these devastating effects, extensive research and education on the causes of fibroids would be available. Instead what you will find is randomized guides on what seems to be the “causal factors”. In these guides you will find factors that seem to increase a woman’s risk of developing fibroids. These factors include:
Age: Women between 30-40 years are more likely to develop fibroids. (well, you don’t say? What is a 20 something year old doing here then?)
Early menstruation: If your period started from age 10-12, it is likely that you will end up developing fibroids.
Family History: This is one of the most common risk factors and also where I belong. My mum and her sisters had fibroids so I guess there was a slim chance of me escaping it.
Ethnic origin: Black women are more susceptible to developing fibroids. We really cannot catch a break like we do not have enough on our plate already!
Who can get fibroids? Every uterus bearing person is likely to develop fibroids at one point of their lives. Statistically, 7 out of 10 women get them with about 80% of them being black women. Can you imagine?? Those of you in the 20% how does it feel to be God’s favourite children?
Given how prevalent fibroids are, research on treatment options and even possible prevention methods remain very little. There isn’t as much attention given to it as it should especially in Ghana. The saddest part about developing fibroids is that, once they get hold of you, they never let go. In other words, fibroids are recurring…unfortunately, even after surgery, they are likely to grow back. So I am not fully out of the woods yet. Sucks but what can I do? I am praying and doing all I can so they don’t. All hope is not lost though, it ends at the onset of menopause. After menopause, they shrink once your body no longer shed blood monthly. It starves and dies. Just like vampires, they desiccate and die without constant blood supply. For this reason, one of my doctor friends advised against having a myomectomy/surgery but waiting until I got pregnant or just leave them be until menopause so they shrink by themselves. But if you’ve been following my story until now, you can understand why I could not take that chance.
I am trying to keep my posts as short as possible so I will bring you the second part of this which will detail causes and symptoms of fibroids. Do leave your questions in the comment section. Thank you guys so much for indulging me so far. Catch me next week.