Fibroids and Adenomyosis are two different conditions, yet have similar symptoms, says the managing director, Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi.
While fibroids are benign tumors growing in or on the uterine wall, adenomyosis is less of a defined mass of cells within the uterine wall, says the managing director.
“When fibroid tumors become quite large they cause severe abdominal pain, heavy bleeding or painful periods and enlargement of the lower abdomen. On the other hand, symptoms of Adenomyosis are menstrual cramps, lower abdominal pressure and bloating before menstrual periods which can result in heavy periods. So you can see the similarity,” he said.
Because the symptoms are so similar, Ajayi said Adenomyosis is often misdiagnosed as uterine fibroids, adding that an accurate diagnosis is key in choosing the right treatments for these conditions.
According to him, most women in Nigeria suffer from these conditions as about 20 to 80 per cent of females developed fibroids by the age of 50, according to the Office on Women’s Health (OWH).
The only cure for adenomyosis is surgical removal of the uterus called a hysterectomy, but if the woman still wants to bear children, then she can consider options like intrauterine devices, endometrial ablation and uterine artery embolisation to help reduce heavy bleeding
Most women with fibroids do not have any symptoms and treatment is not needed. However, severe fibroids may require surgery, which can be either a myomectomy to remove the fibroids while leaving healthy tissue intact, or hysterectomy, which is removal of the uterus.
Other surgical procedures include endometrial ablation which removes the lining of the uterus to control heavy bleeding, myolysis which uses electric current or freezing to destroy the fibroids, and uterine fibroid embolisation (UFE), or uterine artery embolisation (UAE) which are procedures used to block the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink.
The latest treatment for the two conditions, is the High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), a non-invasive therapy that uses intense heat to destroy solid tumours, saying With HIFU machine, these conditions can be treated, by simply burning them.
“The fibroid and adenomyosis are destroyed with the conversion of mechanical energy, which is the ultrasound waves, into thermal energy, which is heat. Immediately, thermal toxicity occurs if tissue temperature raised above the threshold of 56 degree Celsius.
“With HIFU, we selectively destroy tissues at depth without harming overlying, adjacent structures within path of beam. With the method, women can get pregnant and no need for blood transfusion,” he explained.