Fibroids is a condition that affects women of African-Caribbean origins more than others. With around one in three of us likely to develop the condition at some point in our lives, it makes sense to get clued up on the facts.
Soul singer and musical theatre actress Beverley Knight, was diagnosed with uterine fibroids earlier this year, and had to undergo a hysterectomy to treat the symptoms.
So, what is Fibroids? Affecting mostly 30-50 year olds, it’s a condition that sees growths made up of muscle or fibrous tissue develop either inside or around the uterus. Many women with fibroids are not even aware that they have it for a long time, which was the case for Beverley. However, in some cases, symptoms include heavy or painful periods while in extreme cases, fibroids can make it harder to get pregnant or cause infertility.
Dr Zoe Williams, one of the resident GPs on ITV’s This Morning and BBC2’s Trust Me I’m A Doctor, offers this advice: “Most people who have fibroids don’t have any symptoms and there’s nothing to worry about if you’re not having any symptoms. Fibroids themselves don’t turn into cancer, but when they cause problems, such as heavy, painful periods, or if you’re trying to get pregnant and you’re having problems and you think you might have fibroids, then it’s worth speaking to your GP to get a diagnosis, which is done through a transvaginal ultrasound scan.”
During an interview with ITV’s This Morning, Beverley talked about how she had to have a hysterectomy as a result of her uterine fibroids.
A statement, released by Beverley’s management team shortly before her operation, revealed that the singer’s doctors had advised her to undergo the hysterectomy surgery urgently “to avoid complications”.
While the thought of having a hysterectomy at such a young age may sound worrying, this is sadly a common procedure amongst women with the condition. So common that about 20,000 procedures are performed each year although there are many non-surgical procedures available.
A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health in March 2017, showed that many women are in the dark about treatment options. Of the 2,600 women with endometriosis and fibroids who were surveyed, 50% were not told about the short term or long-term complications of the treatment options provided to them.
There are a number of effective medication that can shrink fibroids or help to manage symptoms. It’s also useful to know that the growths often shrink after the menopause with symptoms reducing or even disappearing completely.
Better understanding of the fibroids condition is the first step to being able to make the right decision for how to deal with it if you or someone you know, gets it.
For more information, visit: fibroidsconnect.co.uk to gain a better understanding of the condition.