There are many facts which a woman should know about fibroids. About 30 to 50 % of women in the reproductive age group (about 12 to 45) are likely to suffer from fibroids.
- Fibroids are non cancerous tumours of the uterus.
- They appear and grow only in the childbearing years and often shrink after menopause.
- They grow slowly in most cases and sometimes not at all.
- They may not cause any symptoms (and may be left alone).
- Some of them may cause heavy (and or painful) periods or symptoms due to pressure on the urinary bladder or other adjacent organs.
- Fibroids may present difficulty in conceiving or early abortions or they may not cause any symptoms at all. That would again depend on their size and location within the uterus (whether in the inner or outer or middle part of the uterus).
- Fibroids tend to recur and new ones may appear until you attain menopause.
- Some of them may affect your chances of getting pregnant.
- They usually grow (often rapidly) during pregnancy and may shrink a little after delivery.
- Some of them may increase your risk of miscarriage, premature delivery or caesarean section. Rarely bleeding after delivery may occur due to large fibroids, but is usually manageable.
- Fibroids which cause symptoms or interfere with conception, may need to be treated.
(Dr Suman Bijlani has authored a chapter on endometriosis in the Text Book – “Current Practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology” – Vol 3, edited by Dr Pankaj Desai.)
This one of the most ill understood gynaecological disorders which affects millions of women today and is one of the leading causes of infertility among the urban women. It is now considered a lifestyle disease though the exact cause is not known.
What do you mean by endometriosis?
This disease actually means the presence of endometrial tissue (the inner lining of the uterus) in other areas of the abdominal cavity, outside the uterus. This tissue (known as endometriotic implants) responds to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone and thus bleeds every month just as the uterine lining bleeds and is shed every month. Because of this bleeding, there is surrounding inflammation and this leads to various effects. The surrounding structures may get adherent (stuck) to each other in abnormal positions. For example, the fallopian tubes may get adherent to the back of the uterus or to the ovary. Or the intestines to the uterus, etc. This causes a change in the structural relationship between the various organs involved as well as a pull on them and this may cause painful and heavy periods or painful intercourse and affect fertility.