Just last month, FKA Twigs revealed to her Instagram followers the decision to remove six fibroid tumours from her uterus last year. In serious cases, the tumours grow up to the size of "2 cooking apples ? ?, 3 kiwis ? ? ? and a couple of ?? [strawberries]", FKA Twigs shared. "A fruit bowl of pain everyday," she wrote in her Instagram post. "The nurse said that the weight and size was like being 6 months pregnant."
It sounds scary, but almost all uterine fibroids do not develop into cancer. Got that weight off your shoulders? Okay. Uterine fibroids are growths in the walls of the uterus, most commonly found in women during childbearing years. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years.
Beverly Johnson, the first African American model to front the cover of Vogue magazine, has talked about her options battling uterine fibroids in the 80s, which, honestly isn't wide: "I wish I had been braver and smarter when it came to dealing with fibroids. There are other options out there for women," Beverly stressed, after opting to go with hysterectomy, which resulted in her body being pushed into early menopause with complications. "It is important to investigate them.” American TV personality Bethenny Frankel has mentioned her suffering battle with uterine fibroids - constant pain and bleeding for months on end - and she has admitted it may be one of the reasons she suffered her 2012 miscarriage. She decided to undergo treatment soon after. In 2016, singer Sara Bareilles shared her personal recovery journey on Instagram when she opted for surgery to remove a uterine fibroid.
It is known as the most common non-cancerous growths in the female reproductive tract. More than 70 percent of women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lives, when 25 percent will have noticeable symptoms of fibroids. We seek out expert opinion from Dr Lim Lei Jun, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist.
If you have fibroids with moderate or severe symptoms, surgery may be the best way to treat them. Here are the options:
Myomectomy – Surgery to remove fibroids without taking out the healthy tissue of the uterus. It is best for women who wish to have children after treatment for their fibroids or who wish to keep their uterus for other reasons. You can become pregnant after myomectomy. But if your fibroids were imbedded deeply in the uterus, you might need a caesarean section to deliver. Myomectomy can be performed in many ways. It can be major surgery (involving cutting into the abdomen) or performed with laparoscopy or hysteroscopy. The type of surgery that can be done depends on the type, size, and location of the fibroids. After myomectomy new fibroids can grow and cause trouble later. All of the possible risks of surgery are true for myomectomy. The risks depend on how extensive the surgery is.
Hysterectomy – Surgery to remove the uterus. This surgery is the only sure way to cure uterine fibroids. Fibroids are the most common reason that hysterectomy is performed. This surgery is used when a woman’s fibroids are large, if she has heavy bleeding, is either near or past menopause, or does not want children. If the fibroids are large, a woman may need a hysterectomy that involves cutting into the abdomen to remove the uterus. If the fibroids are smaller, the doctor may be able to reach the uterus through the vagina, instead of making a cut in the abdomen. In some cases hysterectomy can be performed through the laparoscope. Removal of the ovaries and the cervix at the time of hysterectomy is usually optional. Women whose ovaries are not removed do not go into menopause at the time of hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is a major surgery. Although hysterectomy is usually quite safe, it does carry a significant risk of complications. Recovery from hysterectomy usually takes several weeks.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), or Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) – A thin tube is thread into the blood vessels that supply blood to the fibroid. Then, tiny plastic or gel particles are injected into the blood vessels. This blocks the blood supply to the fibroid, causing it to shrink. UFE can be an outpatient or inpatient procedure. Complications, including early menopause, are uncommon but can occur. Studies suggest fibroids are not likely to grow back after UFE, but more long-term research is needed. Not all fibroids can be treated with UFE. The best candidates for UFE are women who:
- Have fibroids that are causing heavy bleeding
- Have fibroids that are causing pain or pressing on the bladder or rectum
- Don’t want to have a hysterectomy
- Don’t want to have children in the future