‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on Wednesday 13 March 2013, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
Read the response by Miss Mahalakshmi Gorti, consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist.
“Dear doc, I am 38 years old and have large fibroids. I am also experiencing severe abdominal pain. What is the treatment for this? It’s putting me down as me and my partner were planning to have kids this year, but this has obviously put a downer on the plans as I am scared about not being able to conceive? Thanks.” Anonymous.
Uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumors that arise from the smooth muscle cells of the uterus. Approximately 20% of women in the reproductive age group have fibroids. Most of the fibroids are asymptomatic but they can cause symptoms such as abdominal swelling, menstrual irregularities and pain. Some fibroids, depending on the location and size, can affect fertility. Fibroids can be diagnosed by clinical examination and their presence can be confirmed by ultrasound or a MRI scan.
Treatment options depend on the age, location, size, symptoms and desire to retain fertility. Fibroids can be managed either by medical methods or by surgical interventions like Myomectomy, which is the removal of fibroids alone or by hysterectomy involving removal of the uterus with fibroids.
Some women are suitable to have uterine artery embolisation, which is a non-surgical technique of shrinking the fibroids. Women with fibroids can conceive and have a normal pregnancy but occasionally fibroids can cause miscarriages, preterm labour and other complications in pregnancy. You may benefit from either myomectomy or uterine artery embolisation depending on the location of your fibroids and your local GP maybe able to advise you further.