Despite being a medical doctor, she could not do anything about her fibroid for many years as she was afraid of removing it through surgery.
Dr Joy Oluwatunbi endured so much pain and bleeding every day in 2017 and heavy bleeding thereafter until she did some research, adjusted her diet and things became normal.
With all her research, she still could not be as productive as she wanted during her menstrual cycle due to the fibroid.
Recounting her experience with fibroid, she said, “The fibroid brought my life to a standstill. I was working in a private hospital and I had to resign. I could not go out during my cycle as I stayed indoors during that period. I had to organise my life around my cycle.
“I did some research and got to know about HIFU. I went to the hospital on a Tuesday, did my ultrasound non-invasive fibroid surgery that same day and left the hospital the same day. By the following day, I was walking and I had no symptoms anymore. The body had absorbed the dead tissue.”
HIFU involves the treatment of fibroids and other tumours using high-intensity focused ultrasound.
“A young woman who does not want a cut should opt for HIFU,” Dr Oluwatunbi advised.
The joy on the face of Patricia Omoke was unquantifiable as she just got rid of her 9cm fibroid a few days earlier. It all started in 2018 when a continuous tummy pain was diagnosed as fibroid and she started taking supplements to manage the pains.
She was reluctant to get rid of the fibroid earlier due to fear of complications such as scar, regrowth and death.
She said, “I actually kept it to myself and only a few members of my family knew about it. The few people who knew only suggested surgery to me and I didn’t want the pressure to get to me.”
Just like Dr Joy and Patricia, there are many women all over the country who desire to get rid of their fibroid but the fear of surgery and its complications makes thousands of them to continuously live with fibroid while it grows in size.
It was just some days ago that Nordica Fertility Centre launched a centre in Lagos dedicated exclusively to the treatment of fibroid.
According to the Medical Director of Nordica, Dr Ababyomi Ajayi, “The machine we just launched in this centre is the first in West Africa, the third in Africa and the 29th centre in the whole world that has the HIFU machine.
“The fibroid machine gets rid of the fibroid through ultrasound waves. It burns off the fibroid without the involvement of any radiation. The woman lies on the table and after about one and half to two hours, the pain is over.
“The health personnel do not need to touch them, rather, it is the machine that does that. With the machine, there is no need to cut and the woman does not need to have any scar.
“More importantly, there is neither blood transfusion nor risk of anesthesia in the new fibroid treatment technology. The second day, the woman can start living her normal life, and in one week, everything in her life will be back to normal as if nothing happened.”
Dr Abayomi, however, added that the technology was not for every woman.
He explained that, “We need to select the women who can benefit from HIFU, for instance, if a woman is too obese, the ultrasound may not be able to get to where it ought to, and if a woman has had a previous surgery, we may not be able to do HIFU for her fibroid as her intestine might have been plastered to the wall of the abdomen.
“People who have done tummy tuck cannot also do HIFU as we are afraid of injury to the bowel. Before the surgery, we ensure the bowel is empty, the patient lies on the table and after 90 or 120 minutes, it is over.”
He said as a gynaecologist, he knew that fibroid surgery was a bloody one, adding that, “I have been following this technology for the past 10 years until I saw that it was at a level that it was easy to use and safe.”