Beverley Knight’s swollen belly alerted her that something wasn’t right. Taking time off from music, the songstress discovered what it was.
Back in 2017, Beverley was diagnosed with uterine fibroids.
The Office On Women’s Health – a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services – explains what the condition is.
“Fibroids are muscular tumours that grow in the wall of the uterus (womb),” the organisation begins.
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Mostly benign (not cancerous), fibroids can grow as single tumour or there can be many of them inside the uterus.
Also known as leiomyoma, or myoma, they can range in size from an apple seed to a grapefruit.
And up to 80 percent of women delvelop fibroid by the time they reach 50.
Although some people may not experience symptoms of the health condition, others do. Examples of symptoms include:
- Heavy bleeding (which can be heavy enough to cause anemia) or painful periods
- Feeling of fullness in the pelvic area (lower stomach area)
- Enlargement of the lower abdomen
- Frequent urination
- Pain during sex
- Lower back pain
- Complications during pregnancy and labor, including a six-time greater risk of cesarean section
- Reproductive problems, such as infertility, which is very rare.
Should the fibroids become very large, they can cause the stomach area to enlarge, making a woman look pregnant.
This is something 47-year-old Beverley can most definitely relate to.
She told Hello magazine: “I noticed that my tummy was very swollen.
“At first I assumed I was pregnant. I thought ‘this cannot be happening’.
“I’m a proud aunty and godmum, but having children of my own has never been part of the plan.”
For moderate or severe symptoms, surgery is usually the best treatment.
Beverley underwent a hysterectomy – the removal of the uterus – to cure uterine fibroids.
“I had to have them removed, as well as the whole caboodle,” she explained.
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This operation suited Beverley because her fibroids were large, she was nearing the age of menopause and she didn’t want children.
Another treatment is endometrial ablation where the lining of the uterus is removed or destroyed to control very heavy bleeding.
As with a hysterectomy, a woman would be unable to bear children after this operation.
One other treatment option includes a myomectomy, which is surgery that removes the fibroids without taking out any healthy tissue belonging to the uterus.
This is best for women who wish to get pregnant at a later date.
Other treatment includes myolyis, which occurs when a needle is inserted into the fibroids to destroy them.
For more mild symptoms, medication may be offered to reduce the pain and minimise bleeding.
And some women may not experience symptoms at all, meaning no treatment would be necessary.
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