Uterine myomas: facts and myths

Every disease gives rise to questions of what comes next, treatment options, alternative solutions, and general consequences. Yet patients do not always address their physicians with such questions. It does happen that women leave the doctor’s office in silence to then seek answers on internet forums. Some never come back, having learned that a uterine […]

Every disease gives rise to questions of what comes next, treatment options, alternative solutions, and general consequences. Yet patients do not always address their physicians with such questions. It does happen that women leave the doctor’s office in silence to then seek answers on internet forums. Some never come back, having learned that a uterine myoma can self-absorb […]

“Every disease gives rise to questions of what comes next, treatment options, alternative solutions, and general consequences. Yet patients do not always address their physicians with such questions. It does happen that women leave the doctor’s office in silence to then seek answers on internet forums. Some never come back, having learned that a uterine myoma can self-absorb, so why treat it; others show up very quickly, horrified that they have cancer and chemotherapy is their only option. In this paper, I would like to showcase the most common facts and myths regarding uterine myomas, hoping that they dispel at least some of the doubts. Should you have any other questions, I am at your disposal,” declares Professor Romuald Dębski MD, gynaecologist, Centre for Post-Graduate Medical Education teacher, and Zdrowa ONA programme expert.

Uterine myoma are a form of cancer. MYTH!

While a physician may use the term “neoplasm”, uterine myomas are what we call benign neoplastic forms, which very rarely become malignant. Obviously, this does not mean that the illness can be neglected – yet being diagnosed with uterine myomas carries no risk of extensive treatment procedures typical for malignant cancer, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy; furthermore, myomas pose no direct threat to the patient’s life.

The occurrence and development of uterine myomas may be symptom-free. FACT!

In 15-20% of cases, women notice no worrying symptoms indicative of any urogenital system disorder. Patients may actually find out that they have uterine myomas by chance, during a routine gynaecological check-up. This is why it is so important for women to make regular appointments with their gynaecologists.

Uterine myomas are most frequent in women using oral contraception. MYTH!

Related scientific research has proven no effect of contraception on the appearance or growth of existent uterine myomas. On the contrary: oral contraception may actually reduce the risk of uterine myoma development.

Surgery is the only option of treating uterine myomas. MYTH!

There are a number of uterine myoma treatment methods, including pharmacological therapy with ulipristal acetate, which takes 3 months and allows approximately one-half of all patients to avoid surgery, as the size of myomas can be reduced by 30-50%. Furthermore, already 7 to 10 days after treatment commences, heavy bleeding (one of the most burdensome uterine myoma symptoms) is reduced significantly.

Uterine myomas can be treated with a proper diet. MYTH!

Uterine myomas require surgical or pharmacological treatment, as described before. There is no diet resulting in growth “disappearance”. Once a patient is diagnosed with uterine myomas, doctor’s orders have to be observed; treatment will be tailored to meet individual patient circumstances. Self-treatment is not an option, as tumours may develop and cause severe complications.

Uterine myomas can self-absorb and dissolve. MYTH!

Uterine myomas develop from endometrial smooth muscle fibres or blood vessel walls. Simply put, they cannot vanish all by themselves. Tumour size reduction is possible with adequate pharmacological treatment or as a result of hormonal deficiency in the wake of menopause.

Women with uterine myomas cannot have sexual intercourse. MYTH!

There are no medical contraindications to sexual intercourse for women with uterine myomas. Understandably, in case of large uterine myomas women avoid intercourse for reasons of physical pain, or shame caused by the need to urinate frequently. Yet in many cases, uterine myomas are symptom-free, intercourse avoidance tying in with poor mental state or belief that sexual activities may exacerbate the condition. Under such circumstances, the best solution would be to talk to a physician capable of clarifying any medical aspects and certainly equipped to inform the patient of any contraindications.

Uterine myomas may cause anaemia. FACT!

Anaemia may be caused by heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding, one of the many uterine myoma symptoms. Under standard conditions, women lose less than 80 ml of blood when menstruating. In uterine myoma patients, however, blood loss may reach 200 or even 350 ml (in case of submucous myomas). Notably, not all myoma patients suffer of heavy menstrual bleeding. Uterine myomas frequently develop with no symptoms at all.

The ABC of male urological diseases

Less than twenty percent of men over forty declare an understanding of the overactive bladder syndrome, as proven by the Zdrowa ONA study commissioned by Gedeon Richter [1]. Male knowledge of lower urinary tract diseases, the overactive bladder syndrome included, continues to be poor. Specialists continuously claim that education translates into […]

Less than twenty percent of men over forty declare an understanding of the overactive bladder syndrome, as proven by the Zdrowa ONA study commissioned by Gedeon Richter [1]. Male knowledge of lower urinary tract diseases, the overactive bladder syndrome included, continues to be poor. Specialists continuously claim that education translates into improved treatment demand indicators, and swifter diagnoses. Please join us in discovering crucial urological disease terms.

BPH, or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – involves glandular and/or transitional zone hyperplasia. Transitional zone hyperplasia causes development of prostate adenoma lateral lobes. Central zone hyperplasia causes development of the prostate adenoma median lobe. While prostate hyperplasia usually affects men over fifty, there have been cases of younger gentlemen complaining of related conditions.

Urological tests – before a urologist decides to order any testing, detailed medical history will be taken, including all complaints, surgeries, and co-morbid diseases. Only once they have all been analysed, a patient is referred for further tests, which include general urinanalysis to confirm or exclude inflammation, PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) testing to screen for prostatic cancer, renal function assessment – or testing for serum urea and creatinine concentration rates, Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) to assess the size, shape, and consistency of the prostate, and uroflowmetry to measure the force and flow or urine through the urethra. An ultrasonograph of the urinary system is obviously also performed to assess the condition of the bladder, prostate size, and residual urine volume following bladder voiding.

LUTS, or male Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms – classifiable primarily as symptoms involving the filling and voiding of the bladder. In each male patient, symptoms will be slightly different. Each case requires individual examination. What may be considered normal in one man may be an indication for treatment in another.

Pharmacotherapy involves reduction of urination-related issues, related drugs belonging to one of the two key groups. Firstly, alpha-1 adrenergic receptor antagonists, reducing prostate and urethra smooth muscle tension. These agents significantly reduce lower urinary tract symptoms by facilitating urine flow through the urethra and urination in general. This group of drugs includes e.g. tamsulosin-containing preparations. The other vital group of agents comprises 5-alpha reductase inhibitors which reduce testosterone impact on the prostate. This group of drugs includes e.g. finasteride-containing preparations, Doctor Piotr Kryst, Zdrowa ONA programme expert, explains.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – interestingly enough, there is no such thing as BPH prevention. As opposed to e.g. arterial hypertension or atherosclerosis, in this case there are no golden rules to protect male patients against the disease. All urologists mention are the usual healthy lifestyle recommendations: avoiding stimulants such as alcohol and cigarettes; engaging in daily physical exercise; and remembering periodical check-ups.

[1] Nationwide study forming part of the Zdrowa ONA programme initiated by Gedeon Richter, carried out by SW Research between 19 March and 25 March 2015 with the computer-assisted web interviewing (CAWI) method applied. The respondent sample was selected at random. The study involved 800 respondents (400 men aged 40 or older and 400 women aged 30 or older whose partners complain of lower urinary tract symptoms).

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