Fibroid (also known as uterine fibroid), is a benign tumour of the uterus composed of smooth muscle and some amount of connective tissue and not a clot of blood as proposed by some people in public transport.

What actually causes fibroids is unknown, however there are some schools of thoughts that say it originates from changes in body cells within the inner lining of the uterine wall to the extent that growth regulators actions are drastically reduced.
Others say it can be genetic as well, spreading from parents to their children whilst others also say that fibroid is associated with long exposure to hormones( particularly oestrogen and progesterone) and as such are very prominent in the active years of a female’s life and gradually disappears when one is nearing menopause.

Since women have uterus, they are the only ones that can develop fibroid.This excludes men from developing fibroid.

Some *risk factors*for developing fibroid includes:

a. Being a black African woman
b. Onset of menstruation before the age of 12 ( Early Menarche). c. Overweight d. Nulliparous (No pregnancy/child)

People who have early menses have a higher risk due to long exposure to hormones.
One may have fibroid but not show symptoms.

*Symptoms* however includes:

a. Menorrhagia (Heavy bleeding during menses)

b. Intermenstrual bleeding (bleeding more than once in a cycle).

c.Chronic pelvic pain.

d.Dysmenorrhea,

e.Dyspareunea

Other symptoms includes:

a.Acute pain if there is degeneration or torsion of a pedunculated fibroid
b. Urinating frequently due to pressure on the bladder

It is important to note that fibroid may become so huge that it could be confused with pregnancy.
In making a diagnosis, the following must be done:
a.Pelvic examination
b.Ultrasound
Fibroid can be removed through surgical or non surgical means.

Non surgical means includes: a. Expectant Management b. GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone) Analogues
Oral contraceptives like Secure can be administered prior surgery to prevent excess bleeding.
Other drugs like Lupreolide and Gonadoreline also have similar effects.

Surgical treatment
1. Hysterectomy (mostly done for menopausal women)
2.Myomectomy- removal of the fibroids.

*Charles Awotwi*
*MJA*