From Isaac Ojo Nnewi
The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Dr Joseph Ugboaja, has disclosed that the commonest symptom of uterine fibroid is increased menstrual flow.
Dr Ugboaja who was speaking in Nnewi during a seminar on women’s health revealed that leiomyomas, otherwise known as uterine fibroids, are benign growths of the smooth muscles of the uterus.
“The primary function of the uterus is to receive, house and nourish the developing baby (fetus) and to successfully give up the baby when the baby is matured through the processes of labour and delivery.
“In the absence of pregnancy, the prepared inner lining of the uterus referred to as the endometrium is shed every month in the form of menstruation,” he explained.
He, however, noted that the cause or aetiological factors of fibroid is still largely unknown but that what is known is that, just as in other growths in the human body, it results from dysregulation in cellular growth.
“It is also known to be common among the blacks and older women who have not or will not conceive.
“The commonest symptom of uterine fibroids is increased menstrual flow otherwise called menorrhagia.
“For instance, if you have a normal four day menstrual duration and suddenly noticed an increase in the number of days as well as in the volume of menstrual flow as evidenced by use of increased number of pads, then uterine fibroids should be suspected.
“This finding may be associated with passage of blood clots during menses and feeling of faintness following each period.
“A woman with uterine fibroids can also notice an abdominal mass which gradually increases in size with some form of mass effect on the bladder and rectum leading to some difficulties and issues with urination and defeacation.
“There may also be dysmenorrhea which is commonly known as painful menstruation. Sometimes, the only manifestation of fibroids will be repeated pregnancy losses,” he said.
Dr Ugboaja, an obstetrician and gynaecologist however, stressed that in vast majority of cases, the fibroids are asymptomatic (i.e no symptoms) and only discovered on routine ultrasound scan for other gynaecological problems.