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Experts Caution Women on Fibroids



Obstetrician-gynaecologist for 27 years Dr Sejal Devendra Surti recently operated on a 42-year-old single woman found through various tests and ultrasound to have a fibroid removed from inside her uterus.

For a week, the patient, who weighed 45 kilogramme (kg), had been feeling weak and feeble. She was also experiencing shortness of breath upon exertion.

Further enquiry revealed she had been going through abnormal menstrual cycles with bouts of blood clots since seven years back.

She had also been suffering from abnormal bleeding as well as microcystic anaemia, the condition characterised by iron deficiency and excessive blood loss.

When her state became stable, she went under the knife. Extracted from her was a 6.5 kg fibroid.

“It (fibroid) was much bigger than a (newborn),” Surti, who has worked at Aster Hospital in Dubai for seven years, told The Gulf Today.

“I even had to request for a bucket, so it could be delivered to the lab. It was too huge,” said the daughter of a surgeon.

Surti decided to go into obstetrics-gynaecology, because just as medical undergraduates are oriented to all specialities, she realised that “the various phases of a woman’s life are interesting and challenging as women have a lot of health issues.”

One of these is the fibroids; those lumps that may form and grow within or outside the uterine wall, which may be shrunk through medical procedures when detected early.

The reason Surti repeatedly mentioned the need for women to include in their calendar of activities their annual check-ups with their obstetrician-gynaecologists.

“We would only know when we go for our check-ups,” she said, referring back to the case of the 42-year-old woman, who was fortunate that the extracted fibroid was benign.

Stating that the signs and symptoms of the presence of the fibroid are abnormal monthly periods, menstrual pain and difficulty in urinating as the fibroid or fibroids put a “pressure effect” on the bladder, she added that “multiple fibroids could lead to a cancer called sarcoma.”

She added: “There are genetic factors related to fibroids, but these are not yet clear.”

Surti cautioned women to keep their weight in relation to their height, adding that the obese have been found to be more susceptible to fibroids.

African women are twice to thrice more prone than Caucasians.

According to Surti, fibroids are “most common” among the 25 to 35 age category and this is not so among menopausal women, because “this is hormone-related.”

Preventive measures include sufficient amounts of Vitamin D as well as diet and nutrition rich in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and chinese cabbage to balance the estrogen levels, and restriction to high refined carbohydrates that imbalances the female hormone, and red beef.