A fertility expert, and managing director of Fibroid Care Centre, Dr Abayomi Ajayi, has said it is not every fibroid that needs treatment.
He said even when there is need to treat a fibroid, surgery alone is not the only option. He explained that there are some very non-invasive methods such as High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) that women could consider.
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He stated this during an interactive session on infertility and uterine fibroids in Abuja.
He said caution should be exercised in performing fibroid surgery also called myomectomy on women of reproductive age especially if the patient could benefit from other methods.
Dr Ajayi said surgery often led to scars which have other implications for the woman if she desires to have children.
“If the women can benefit from hysteroscopy surgery alone, for instance, just do it without cutting her, to ensure you do no harm.
“Uterine artery embolization is another method, but some are of the view that it affects the ovaries – meaning that a woman trying to get pregnant may also lose her ovaries.
“There are things to consider in treating fibroid, and it also depends on the doctor and how open he is to technology,” Dr Ajayi stated.
He said some things that can happen during fibroid surgery are much loss of blood, problems from anesthesia, cutting the fallopian tubes, and loss of lives, among others, because myomectomy may not be what was required.
Dr Ajayi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Nordica Fertility Centre, said these complications do not necessarily happen because the doctor is bad, but because things could generally go wrong as fibroid surgery is a very bloody procedure.
According to him, clots and thrombosis can also happen during fibroid surgeries, particularly where the patient has been confounded to the bed for two or three days thereby leading to pulmonary embolism, a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs.
Pulmonary embolism is often caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from deep veins in the legs or, rarely, from veins in other parts of the body (deep vein thrombosis).
He added that pulmonary embolism could rarely be managed in most Nigerian hospitals, thus leading to the death of the patient.
While saying that his facility has performed 129 HIFU procedures without problems, the fertility expert said HIFU does not have the complications often associated with fibroid surgeries.
Hajiya Saratu Kassim, founder, Fertility Support Group, Africa, a community of over 1.3 million members decried the low awareness about infertility treatments in the country.
She said as a result of that many women are defrauded and taken advantage of across the country.
She said her group tries to bridge the awareness gap by educating women on their fertility window, the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and where and how to seek care.
She also advised women against accessing treatment at laboratories after tests, saying they should rather go back to their doctors for treatment.