The Random House College Dictionary defines a fibroid as 'fibers or fiberous
tissue resembling a tumor'. Ask a gynecologist and he or she would tell you
it's a noncancerous growth within the uterus. Are fibroids serious? Well,
that can be debated. If each month you bleed heavily and have debilitating
cramping, it maybe seen as serious and might warrant surgery depending on who you have as a physician.
What causes fibroids? Well no one can say for sure, but some scientist
believe it's genetic and runs in families, from taking hormones (as in birth
control pills), while others say it could be a result of our living environments.
Fibroids respond to estrogen and they can occur at any age, but are more
common in women of child-bearing age. Fibroids usually shrink or disappear
during or after menopause due to the lower estrogen levels in a woman's body.
Knowing they shrink during and after menopause some doctors tell their patients over forty to wait before
embarking on surgery and let them naturally rectify themselves, providing their condition's not serious.
Unfortunately, the skills necessary to perform the procedure (called a myomectomy, the removal of the growths) leaving the uterus intact, are not universally taught in medical schools. This would explain why so many doctors recommend their patients have hysterectomies; they don't know how to perform the procedure, or don't want to be bothered with this tedious surgery. This
form of leviation of fibriods accounted for many of the unnecessary hysterectomies of the late 80s and early 90s. Even sadder is the fact many HMOs will cover hysterectomies but not myomectomies. Maybe when doctors become more versed with this procedure, the HMOs will feel confident in covering this option.
If you are faced with fibroids, weigh the treatment options very carefully.
If a doctor should tell you a hysterectomy is needed -- especially if you're a
young woman who has yet to bear a child -- get a second opinion. It's believed the majority of the 546,000 hysterectomies performed each year, only 2% are life threatening, so if you decide on a hysterectomy let it be your choice. It's very important you speak with other women who have dealt with this condition, and get as much information as you can from them, including
The treatment options are:
myomectomy- - The removal of the tumors leaving the uterus intact.
hysterectomy- - The removal of the uterus.
wholistic- - It is believed by wholistic doctors the fibroids are evidence of an imbalancement within the body and can be corrected with dietary and natural remedies.
Uterine Fibroids : What Every Woman...
There are organizations who will provide information to anyone wanting to know more about the treatment of fibroids. Here are three you can contact:
The Women's Reproduction Health Network (215) 667-7757
The Civilized Medicine Institute 8469 East Jefferson Ave., Detroit, Michigan 48214
The National Women's Health Network (202) 347-1140