Fibroids is one of the commonly seen cases in the gynecological clinics in Africa. It is a benign condition affecting the womb, which is common with black women. Out of every 10 black women, it can be found in about 6-7 of them, so it is very common. The womb has 3 layers- outermost layer which is a form of sheet covering it, an inner layer which is made up of muscles and an innermost aspect where fertilized eggs get embedded. Fibroid originates from the inner muscle layers and it can grow either inward towards the inside of the womb or outwards, can also stay inside the middle part of the womb. In most women it does not cause any problems infact, they don’t know they have it until they go for ultrasound scan. While in some, it can cause a lot of problems that make them visit gynecologist.
The problems of fibroids include-
*Heavy and painful menstrual flow. This occurs when there are clots in the flow, you use more pads than you normally use or do it for a longer number of days than usual.
*Discomforts – Some fibroids can be so big that it will look like a term pregnancy. This can cause some problems like constipation, frequent passage of urine e.t.c.
*Recurrent miscarriages: Especially if the fibroids is the type that grows into the cavity of the womb, It will not allow pregnancy to stay in the womb.
Does fibroids cause infertility? The answer to this question is “No and Yes”. There are many women in our environment with fibroids who already have many children. Many of them got to know they have fibroids during pregnancy. They never had any symptoms based on this, fibroids do not cause infertility.
However, there are many women with difficulties in getting pregnant and were not successful until after the fibroids were removed. Based on this, fibroids, though it does not cause infertility, it has an indirect way of causing infertility. These include :-
* Painful sexual intercourse especially if located at the entrance of the womb or inside the vagina. This will affect frequency of sexual intercourse hence, difficulty with achieving pregnancy.
* blockage of the entrance to the womb or Fallopian tubes. Fibroids can be located at the entrance of the womb or fallopian tubes. This will block the passage of sperm and not allow it to get to the egg. This will make pregnancy difficult.
*Recurrent miscarriages. Fibroids located inside the womb can occupy the area where
fertilized eggs are supposed to stay. This will lead to recurrent miscarriages.
*Heavy menstrual flow/bleeding in between menses. This will affect sexual intercourse especially bleeding in between menses, making getting pregnant difficult
Therefore, not all fibroids require operation. However if you have any of the above listed, you may be required to remove the fibroids.