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Fi­broids: Know your op­tions of treat­ment

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - HTCITY ENTERTAINMENT - Sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures

What are fi­broids?

Fi­broids are ab­nor­mal (non-can­cer­ous) growths that de­velop in or on a woman’s uterus. About 75% women have uter­ine fi­broids. But most fe­males don’t know that they have fi­broids be­cause of­ten they cause no symp­toms. They can vary in num­ber and size and can oc­cur any­where in the uterus, ei­ther on the outer sur­face of the uterus or within the wall.

What are the symp­toms of fi­broids?

Most of them are asymp­to­matic. But de­pend­ing on their size and lo­ca­tion, they can cause a va­ri­ety of symp­toms, the most com­mon be­ing heavy and painful men­strual pe­ri­ods. Apart from these, they can cause bleed­ing be­tween pe­ri­ods, pain in the legs, ab­dom­i­nal bloat­ing, back­aches, mis­car­riage, in­fer­til­ity, and pain dur­ing in­ter­course.

How are fi­broids de­tected?

They can be de­tected dur­ing a rou­tine pelvic ex­am­i­na­tion or ul­tra­sound. Your doc­tor can rec­om­mend an MRI if there is uncer­tainty in di­ag­no­sis.

If I have uter­ine fi­broids, can I still get preg­nant?

Many women who have fi­broids get preg­nant nat­u­rally. How­ever, some women who have fi­broids that change the shape and size of the uter­ine cav­ity may face re­duced fer­til­ity by as much as 70%.How­ever, if the fi­broid is treated, fer­til­ity may be re­stored. So it is im­por­tant to dis­cuss the size and lo­ca­tion of the fi­broids with your doc­tor thor­oughly so that an ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment can be planned.

Can fi­broids turn ma­lig­nant (can­cer­ous)?

Less than 1% of uter­ine fi­broids turn out to be can­cer­ous.

What are the treat­ment op­tions?

If you don’t have symp­toms, you prob­a­bly won’t need any treat­ment but de­pend­ing upon your age, the lo­ca­tion of the growths, the mild­ness or sever­ity of your symp­toms, treat­ment may be non-sur­gi­cal or sur­gi­cal.

Non-sur­gi­cal meth­ods in­clude med­i­ca­tion to de­crease blood loss and pain. Oral con­tra­cep­tive pills, GNRH ana­logues and pro­ges­terone re­leas­ing in­tra-uter­ine de­vice (Mirena) are other op­tions which tar­get hor­mones that reg­u­late the men­strual cy­cle. They de­crease the symp­toms of heavy men­strual bleed­ing, but don’t elim­i­nate fi­broids. They may shrink them.

My­omec­tomy (la­paro­scopic/ hys­tero­scopic/ab­dom­i­nal): In my­omec­tomy, the sur­geon re­moves the fi­broids leav­ing the uterus in place.

Hys­terec­tomy (la­paro­scopic/ab­dom­i­nal): Re­moval of the uterus re­mains the only proven per­ma­nent solution for uter­ine fi­broids. But hys­terec­tomy is a ma­jor surgery.

Thus, one has to thor­oughly dis­cuss all treat­ment op­tions with the gy­nae­col­o­gist be­fore reaching a decision that can pro­vide long-term re­lief.

Dis­claimer: The ve­rac­ity of any health claim made in the above ar­ti­cle is the responsibility of the doc­tor/ hospi­tal con­cerned.

PHOTO: HTCS

Dr Heena Chawla, MD, ob­stet­rics & gy­nae­col­ogy; Con­sul­tant gy­nae­col­ogy la­paro­scopic and can­cer sur­geon at Apollo Clinic and Chd City Hospi­tal, SCO 10-11, Sec­tor 8-C, Chandi­garh

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