Five More Misconceptions About Fibroids
- 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 gynecological 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.
- Fibroids can be cured by taking drugs only: There are some tablets and injections which are available for the treatment of fibroids. They work to reduce the heavy bleeding experienced, or to shrink the fibroids temporarily. Drug treatment of fibroids alone is insufficient as they grow back once the drug is stopped. Also, these drugs are mostly hormonal and have other side effects and so they are often not prescribed for prolonged periods. In selected cases, drugs can be used to shrink fibroids just before surgery to make the procedure less complicated. The definite way of treating fibroids is to remove them through an operation. A minor procedure can be done using X-ray guidance, which is called a Uterine Fibroid Embolization.
- Most people die from fibroid surgery: Unfortunately in this country, there have been many deaths resulting from fibroid surgeries, and it almost seems as if everyone knows a friend, relative, or friend’s friend, etc, who died from complications after a fibroid surgery, or who never made it out of the operating room alive. In spite of all the scary stories we hear, most of the time, the surgery is done without any problems. As with any other type of surgery, it depends on the right procedure being offered to the right patient, done by the right person, in the right place.
- A woman MUST be transfused during fibroid surgery: Fibroids do contain a lot of blood vessels, and so a fibroid surgery usually comes with a risk of bleeding, and thus a higher risk of blood transfusion. This does not mean that everyone will be transfused. The blood level of the patient would have been checked before the surgery, and if necessary, built up with Iron and multivitamin tablets and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables before the surgery can hold. The technique used to perform the surgery, the equipment, and the skill of the surgical team also has a large part to play in reducing bleeding. Even large fibroids can be removed successfully without blood transfusion.
- A woman cannot get pregnant after fibroid surgery: A rare complication of fibroid surgeries is infertility. This can occur for different reasons which include: *if the fibroids were removed from the inside of the womb and the lining of the womb does not heal well and instead forms scars *if the tubes are injured during the surgery *if the ovaries are damaged during the surgery. There are procedures called minimally invasive surgeries which are done by inserting small instruments either through the vagina (hysteroscopy) or through tiny cuts on the abdomen (laparoscopy) to remove fibroids. These usually reduce the risk of infertility after surgery.
- Fibroids do not grow back after surgery: Unfortunately, even after fibroids have been removed surgically, new fibroids can begin to grow within two to three years in about 3 out of 10 people. This does not happen to everyone, and it is not always possible to predict who will have the fibroids grow back when the surgery is done.