A woman shows up at a hospital with an enlarged abdomen and complaints of breathing problems. She turns out to have a “giant” uterine fibroid the size of a large squash.
'Giant' Fibroid Successfully Removed
In Singapore, doctors report of the case of a woman who came to the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital with an engorged abdomen and complaints of shortness of breath and movement struggles. Evidently, the woman's abdomen was so massive that it made it difficult for her to move around. She was mostly bedridden by then, and she also experienced shortness of breath both when she was moving and when she was lying down.
The unnamed woman is described by doctors as virgo-intacta or an untouched virgin and apparently did not seek for medical attention earlier, as she was afraid of getting surgery. Because of her condition, doctors had to perform several surgeries to remove the massive tumor as well as her uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. She also had to undergo reconstructive surgery afterward so as to fix her abdominal wall, for it had become so swollen and thinned.
The fibroid tumor turned out to weigh 61 pounds (27.8 kilos) and measured 64 by 50.5 by 15 cm. A fibroid is considered a “giant” if it weights at least 25 pounds (11 kilos), so the woman’s case fits into the category and even tips the scales.
Two months after the surgery, the woman can move and breathe properly, and her abdominal scars have already healed.
Uterine Leiomyomas are the most common pelvic tumor among women, especially those who are 50 years old and above. Among women of child-bearing age, the tumor typically grows at a rate of 9 percent in six months.
The tumors are benign or noncancerous tumors that grow in the uterus of women in childbearing years and can be very small or grow into large masses that already enlarge and affect the uterus. Such cases of giant uterine fibroids, however, are considered rare because they are often detected during routine examinations or when the woman begins to experience symptoms.
Many women don’t even know that they have uterine fibroids because it doesn’t typically cause symptoms, but some may experience pelvic pain, frequent urination, and heavy and lengthy menstrual periods. In the woman’s case, she did not experience any symptoms, and it was not specified how long the tumor had been growing. It is possible that it grew slowly over the course of at least five years, which is why her body was able to adjust.
Giant uterine fibroids are rare, and the woman’s extreme case is even more so. The case is published in BMJ Case Reports.