A group of American researchers from the University of Toronto, Canada have found that women living with fibroid can experience pain during sex, painful mensuration and other devastating symptoms.
Fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or on a woman’s uterus of which the exact cause is unknown.
The researchers took a look at why some women were experiencing extreme pain during sex. They found that fibroids were significantly associated with “deep dyspareunia,” or intercourse that is painful deep in the vagina, as opposed to the entrance.
The study included 827 women ranging in age from 35 to 49. Of these women, 63 percent had fibroids, and among those with fibroids, about 22 percent reported that they had deep dyspareunia during the previous year.
The study revealed that women whose fibroids were located in the upper section of the uterus were more likely to have deep, painful intercourse.
“Also, deeply painful sex was more common in women who had given birth. In fact, for each delivery, the odds of deep dyspareunia increased by 30 percent.
“Deep dyspareunia was more common in younger, premenopausal women.
“Women with other pelvic conditions like endometriosis were nearly three times more likely to have deep dyspareunia than those without other pelvic complaints.
“Depressed women were twice as likely to have painful intercourse as those in the study who didn’t have a history of depression,” the study reveals.
While the study didn’t conclude that fibroids caused deep dyspareunia, it did reveal a strong connection between uterine fibroids and painful intercourse.
In a related development, a Nigerian doctor, specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Abosede Lewu at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital also told the News Agency of Nigeria that symptoms of fibroid could be huge, stressful and sometimes devastating.
According to her, fibroid is not cancer, saying it is common in 50 to 70 per cent of women and less than half of women with fibroid have symptoms.
“These women experience heavy menses; some use adult diapers, some sit on bowls, just to bleed into it; some need to be transfused with blood after each period, painful menses so severe some can’t move or work.
“They also experience tummy and back pains, painful sex, in some, sex is impossible, frequent urination, constipation, and big tummy that may look like pregnancy.
“Fibroid can contribute to infertility in some women and, depending on its location, it can also affect kidneys, disturb pregnancy, with risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.
“It can cause repeated hospital admissions from degeneration of the fibroid in pregnancy.
“This can be painful too; with abnormal position of baby necessitating CS and risk of bleeding after delivery,” she said.
Lewu said that treatment might be unnecessary if a woman with fibroid does not have symptoms or if it is not affecting her in any way.
She advised that such women should do annual pelvic ultrasound to monitor the fibroid.
The gynaecologist said there were newer and more advanced methods of fibroid treatment.
Lewu also noted that women with fibroid should discuss with a specialist on the best line of management or treatment.
She said treatment depends on the size of the fibroid, severity of symptoms, age, and desire to have babies and available specialist or expertise.
“The treatment can be medical, that is, non-hormonal or hormonal; and it can be surgical with minimally invasive or open surgery.
“Medications do treat the symptoms and shrink fibroid, but it may grow back. M
can also reduce bleeding, reduce pain, reduce size before surgery, stop the process of menstruation or build back blood level.
“Some have to undergo myomectomy, which is the removal of fibroid; or hysterectomy, which is the removal of the womb, to get better.
These treatments are to alleviate symptoms and not a cure for fibroid.
“It is advisable to receive care from a gynaecologist than fall victim to scammers who dupe women, promising them impossible treatment.”
“Painful intercourse can affect a woman’s libido; she may find herself less interested in sex, knowing that it will hurt. If sex is painful for you, speak with your doctor. While the cause could be uterine fibroids, there can be many other factors involved,” Lewu said.