MANILA -- Women tend to panic when they hear that they have a lump on their uterus, but an expert explained that not all lumps can lead to cancer.
Uterine myoma is a benign, slow-growing tumor that usually grows on a woman's uterus. While it gets bigger over time, it is not cancerous.
In an interview on DZMM's "Magandang Gabi Dok", Dr. Angela Aguilar of the Philippine Society for Gynecologic Endoscopy explained that myoma is relatively harmless, except when it becomes too big, or if it grows on an area where an embryo should grow.
The doctor added that a woman who has myoma does not usually become aware of it unless she goes for a checkup because it does not exhibit a lot of symptoms.
"Maaring magkaroon ng pagdurugo kapag ang myoma ay naka-usli sa lining ng matris. Kapag malaki yung myoma, at nakakaipit na ng ibang organs, tulad ng pantog, maaring madalas na ma-ihi. Kung sa may daanan naman ng dumi, maaring maging constipated," the doctor said.
Aguilar explained that although women experience menstrual flow, those with myoma may have prolonged or excessive bleeding.
She added that those with myoma also rarely experience pain unless the lump becomes too big and loses oxygen supply.
Despite these symptoms, she said women with myoma shouldn't worry too much about it.
"Yung may mga myoma, hindi dapat nababahala. 'Yung iba naman ay masyadong maliit. Baka sa kakaisip mo doon sa myoma baka lalo kang magkasakit," she said.
Aguilar said there is no cure for this condition but there are several ways to manage its symptoms.
"Walang gamot sa myoma, nasusuppress lang ang paglaki o napapaliit ng kaunti. Pero kapag tumigil sa pag-inom ng gamot, lalaki ulit [yung lump]," she said.
She added that doctors can recommend the removal of the lump, but only if they have a reason to do so.
"Dapat lang tanggalin kung may importanteng rason para tanggalin, halimbawa para mawala 'yung bleeding, o para mawala 'yung pagkaipit ng organs. Pwede rin kung kailangang tulungang magbuntis yung babae," she explained.
Women who have myoma are advised to monitor the growth of the lump. Myoma usually grows slowly, so when it grows fast within a few months, it needs to be checked.
Aguilar added that there are different ways to remove the lump, either through hysteroscopy, which uses a telescope and a hook inserted through the woman's cervix; through Caesarian section; or through laparoscopy, or keyhole surgery.
Effects on pregnancy
Myoma can have different effects on a woman's pregnancy, depending on its size and location.
Aguilar clarified that women who have myoma can still get pregnant, unless the lump is located on the same area where the embryo should be implanted.
Sometimes, when the lump is big enough to cause compression and "compete" with the baby, it causes breech birth.
Myoma can also cause premature labor as the space becomes to small for both the lump and the baby.
This condition can only cause miscarriage if the lump grows on the space intended for the implantation of the embryo.
Sometimes, the lump cannot compete with the baby and loses its oxygen and blood supply. Once this happens, the lump decomposes and causes extreme pain.
Aguilar said, however, that doctors will never remove a lump during pregnancy as it can also affect the baby.
She added that myoma does not cause malformation or chromosomal problems in babies.
She advised women who are having difficulty in getting pregnant, or those who experience the symptoms of myoma to get themselves checked.