Please start by reading the article “Let’s talk about Uterine Fibroids” in Issue 13 of ZASA Magazine to understand the context of this post, it is supplementary material. You can download the magazine for free here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is there any way of preventing Fibroids?
Because fibroids do not show any symptoms for most part of the illness, it is very difficult to prevent them altogether. However, regular ultrasound scans and visits to your gynaecologist are very important because the earlier fibroids are discovered, the easier it is to treat, shrink and remove them, avoiding the need for a hysterectomy, in the process. Also, it is believed that fibroids that are less than 5mm in size can be shrunk completely using diet and drugs.
- Is one more likely to have Fibroids if their parent or grandparent has/had Fibroids?
Unfortunately, the colour of your hair or skin tone are not the only traits that you inherit from your parents. If your mother or sister has had fibroids, you have a higher risk of developing fibroids as well.
- If one has had an ultrasound and no fibroids were found but they experience painful menses, is that indicative of them more likely to have Fibroids in the future?
An ultrasound is the most commonly used tool to diagnose or confirm the presence of fibroids. Painful menses or prolonged bleeding is an indication of many diseases and not just fibroids. Fibroids tend to cause painful menses only when they’re large in size or multiple in number. Therefore, because painful menses can be indicative of other diseases, they don’t necessarily put you at risk of developing fibroids in the future.
- Can you get Fibroids even though you’ve never had children or been pregnant?
The cause of fibroids is not well understood. Risk factors associated with fibroids include alcohol abuse, diets rich in red meat and dairy but poor in green vegetables, starting your menstrual cycles at a younger age and more recently, the use of contraceptives has been linked to fibroids. Also, for reasons that are not well understood, black women are 3 times likely to develop fibroids than women of other races.
- And if you get Fibroids before you have children and they are removed, how does that affect your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby?
So long as the procedure to remove the fibroids is carried out safely and successfully and the uterus is preserved, you still have a good chance of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy child or children. Always discuss alternatives of preserving your uterus with your physician.
Science membership: Public Health Association Of South Africa.