by Dr Agilan Arjunan, Fertility Specialist & Gynaecologist, KL Fertility Centre (Malaysia)
According to medical history, in the periods of Hippocrates in 460-375 BC , fibroid was known as ‘uterine stone’. The first surgery for fibroid was done for the American President Abraham Lincoln’s cousin in 1809. The term fibroid was introduced in 1860.
Many women had been diagnosed with uterine fibroid. For some the fibroid is not medically important but for some women, fibroid can cause infertility.
What is uterine fibroid?
A woman’s womb or uterus is made up of muscles known as ‘myometrium’ . This ‘myometrium’ is composed of many strands of muscle fibres.
Fibroids arise from genetic alteration in a single muscle fibre. This causes the muscles to overgrow and form a fibroid. Circulating female hormone called oestrogen can cause growth of the fibroid.
However, fibroids can also grow in low oestrogen environment , possibly due to conversion of male hormone called androgens into oestrogen. Yes, females have male hormones too!
The problem with fibroid is , it can be a silent killer. Woman may have fibroids without ever knowing about it! This is because not all the fibroids cause symptoms. Whether the fibroid causes a problem depends on the size and location of the fibroid.
General problems with Fibroid
a) Heavy Period flow
Generally , fibroids that are located close to the inner layer of the womb (endometrium) , and which distort or displace the womb cavity may cause heavy periods. If untreated , it can lead to anaemia.
b) Pelvic Pain
Larger fibroids ( more than 4-5cm) may also cause pain and if large enough. Sometimes, the core of the fibroid can become soft leading to severe pain . This is called ‘red degeneration ‘ of fibroid.
A large fibroid can lead to compression of urinary bladder and bowel which leads to difficulty in passing out urine or faeces .
How does fibroids steal your fertility ?