2/01/2016

HAVE YOU CHECKED YOUR UTERUS LATELY?


As you grow older you become more and more responsible for your well-being. When I was a child, my mother ensured I attended all my hospital appointments, examinations, etc. Being grown up sure has its troubles. The first time i heard the word "fibroid" was from a friend. We were seventeen then, and we were told that this was a condition suffered by women in their thirties and above. Big relief for me then, thirty was far away. It is very like me to be unconcerned about an ailment until it happens to someone close to home, then my hunger for knowledge comes. 

An Aunt of mine recently had to undergo surgery to remove fibroids as hers had become severe and was interfering with her breathing. Before then, it had grown so large and caused her to look at least 6 months pregnant. Thankfully to God, the surgery was successful and she came out of it alive and well. This made me start to research about what this was as research shows that black women are more likely to suffer from fibroids than whites. It is also peculiar to women as the growth occurs in the uterus (womb), and we all know that men don't have that.

What is Fibroid?
Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus (womb). Another medical term for fibroids is "leiomyoma" (leye-oh-meye-OH-muh) or just "myoma". Fibroids are almost always benign (not cancerous). Fibroids can grow as a single tumor, or there can be many of them in the uterus. They can be as small as an apple seed or as big as a grapefruit. In unusual cases they can become very large.

What are the symptoms of fibroids?
Most fibroids do not cause any symptoms, but some women with fibroids can have:
  • Heavy bleeding (which can be heavy enough to cause anemia) or painful periods
  • Feeling of fullness in the pelvic area (lower stomach area)
  • Enlargement of the lower abdomen, making the woman look pregnant.
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower back pain
  • Complications during pregnancy and labor, including a six-time greater risk of cesarean section
  • Reproductive problems, such as infertility, which is very rare.
Who gets fibroids?
There are factors that can increase a woman's risk of developing fibroids.
  • Age. Fibroids become more common as women age, especially during the 30s and 40s through menopause. After menopause, fibroids usually shrink.
  • Family history. Having a family member with fibroids increases your risk. If a woman's mother had fibroids, her risk of having them is about three times higher than average.
  • Ethnic origin. African-American women are more likely to develop fibroids than white women.
  • Obesity. Women who are overweight are at higher risk for fibroids. For very heavy women, the risk is two to three times greater than average.
  • Eating habits. Eating a lot of red meat (e.g., beef) and ham is linked with a higher risk of fibroids. Eating plenty of green vegetables seems to protect women from developing fibroids.
Research does not pin point a particular cause of fibroids and thus provides no proven method for preventing its growth. However there are recommendations that living a healthy lifestyle and staying away from certain foods, e.g. red meat, or eating certain foods could help prevent or manage the growth. Apparently even after a surgical removal of a fibrous growth, there can be a regrowth. Research suggests that a permanent solution is to surgically take out the whole uterus,  however, once this procedure is done a woman cannot get pregnant. I don't know about you, but this fibroids thing is sounding like a matter for divine interference!  Anyway, educate yourself and have your uterus checked regularly!
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