Five Misconceptions about fibroids
- A fibroid is a type of cancer: Fibroids are abnormal growths that occur in the uterus (womb) of females. While fibroids can grow bigger, they cannot spread to other parts of the body like the ovary or the lungs and cause damage there. This means that the issues that fibroids cause usually happen only in the womb, unless the fibroid is resting on other organs like the kidneys or the intestines. A cancer is an abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in the body that can spread to other parts of the body and cause harm. An example is cancer of the ovaries, which can spread to the uterus, intestine, or liver. Very rarely, a fibroid can become cancerous and begin to spread. This happens in older women and a sign of this is if the fibroid suddenly begins to grow rapidly.
- Fibroids are caused by diet: The definite cause of fibroids has not yet been identified. It is known that fibroids need estrogen and progesterone (the female hormones) to grow, so they do not occur before puberty and after menopause; but all women have these hormones, and not all of them will develop fibroids. Also, it is not known why fibroids grow at different rates (faster or slower) in different women. Women are at a higher risk of having fibroids if they are black. Some other things that have been identified include being overweight, having a diet low in green vegetables, fruit, and dairy, and taking alcohol.
- Fibroids happen when a woman doesn’t get pregnant early: No, fibroids do not grow because there is no baby in the womb. Fibroids grow in spite of how early or late one gets pregnant. Any woman who is of reproductive age can develop fibroids.
- A woman with fibroids can never get pregnant or carry a baby to term: Fibroids can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant, depending on their size, location on the womb, and their number. They can also cause a woman to have a miscarriage. That being said, most women with fibroids will get pregnant and deliver their babies successfully. In fact, a lot of women do not even know that they have fibroids until they are pregnant and have a scan done!
- Every woman with heavy periods or painful periods has fibroids: The most common problem caused by fibroids is heavy periods, and they can also cause periods to be painful. However, there are other gynaecological conditions (examples are polyps, adenomyosis, or endometriosis) that can bring about the same symptoms. Anyone who notices these changes should see a doctor to at least get a scan done which will help to confirm what the exact issue is.