Uterine fibroid has become common among younger women and not older women alone as it used to be in the past, a gynecologist, Dr Fred Achem, has said.
Achem, who is the President, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday.
He described uterine fibroids as non-cancerous growths of the fibre and the muscles of the womb.
He said: “we have not found an exclusive reason why some womb grows and other wombs don’t grow fibroids.
“But it is known that those who have fibroids are usually those who have to delay in getting their first babies; those who have their babies between 18 and 25 don’t seem to have fibroids that early.
“And over the years this has not been the trend, there has been a bit of a change, we are beginning to see fibroids earlier in women.
“It is still something that research has to pinpoint: a single or multiple number of causes that together predispose a young lady to fibroids.“
He said although a lot of fibroids did not show symptoms, the more severe ones gave signs such as heavy and irregular menstruation and a visible lump on the abdomen.
“A lot of them may not show at all and a lot of women may never know that they have fibroids, these are the friendly fibroids.
“They are gradually growing quietly and slowly in the womb, they don’t hinder conception, they do not manifest as the others do.
“So a lot of time you do a caesarian operation and see fibroids in the womb. A lot of them are without symptoms.
“The common way they present is usually heavy periods, suddenly the periods begin to last longer and begin to get heavier than they used to be and they are changing more often than they ought to change.
“That’s one major way, substantial way fibroid shows.
“Others begin to notice a lump, a mass in their stomach, in the abdomen and this is a mass she can feel, her husband can feel or the doctors can feel.
“Such masses are not viable to be felt until the womb is the size of a three-month old pregnancy. So if the fibroids are less than that size, you may never show a mass in the abdomen,“ Achem said.
He added that some fibroids caused pain in pregnant women.
The gynaecologist said although fibroids were not supposed to cause infertility, some women found it difficult to conceive because the growths positioned themselves in a way that blocked the fallopian tube.
He advised single ladies, who had fibroid to have children before the fibroids were removed.
“In the younger people, the first thing is to address the low blood level, with blood transfusion or blood tablets; this can help build the blood back, then they go to have their children,“ he stated.
He said that some drugs and injectables could be used in the management of fibroids to shrink them, adding that open and endoscopic surgeries were used to remove fibroids.