Women with a family history of fibroids have a high risk of developing the condition. It can be diagnosed through an ultrasound, although this is more difficult in women who are overweight.
Treatment includes drugs that can slow or stop their growth, or surgery. Many women with fibroids can get pregnant naturally.
Dear Doctor: I am 43 years old and bleed heavily due to fibroids. My doctor has suggested surgery, yet I am going into menopause soon. Can I go ahead with the operation?
Dear Restetuta: Fibroids are non-cancerous swellings that develop in the womb of a woman during her reproductive years. Usually, such a woman has never or has taken long to reproduce. The majority of women with uterine fibroids may have no symptoms and even when they do, it is rare that they will show before the age of 25.
The common symptoms of fibroids include, infertility (though many women can get pregnant and deliver normally), constipation, heavy abdominal feeling, backache, painful and heavy periods, piles and painless swelling of feet (pedal oedema).
Fibroids usually grow slowly and tend to shrink after menopause when levels of reproductive hormones decrease. I am sure at 43, you are nearing menopause and contrary to popular belief, the age of menopause is not fixed at 45.
Undergoing an operation to remove fibroids or the womb and ovaries depends on age or whether you want to have children or not.
At 43, if you are not thinking of having children, you may require the operation to remove the womb and ovaries to stem bleeding which risks anaemia, apart from cancer of the cervix, body of the womb and ovaries.
The operation will not make you get beards like a man or get hollow as many people wrongly believe.
Dear Doctor: My urine is smelly. What could be the problem and where can I go for treatment?
Dear Paul; Urine naturally has a mild odour and even when it is strong, it is not usually cause for concern. Sometimes one may notice that their urine has got a strong odour because of changes in diet, drinking alcohol or because of a medical problem.
Some foods, especially those that contain asparagus (or garlic) can make urine have a strong odour. This happens when one has inherited an ability to form an enzyme that breaks down asparagus into a smelly sulfur compound called methyl mercaptan (the same compound found in garlic).
Other foods that may change the odour of urine include onions and strong coffee. If food is the reason one’s urine is having a strong odour, avoiding such foods could help.
If this does not help to normalise the odour, then there is another likely cause requiring medical treatment and possibly treatment.
A urinary tract infection, or urinary stones, can create an ammonia-like odour. Poorly controlled diabetes may give urine a sweet smell. A strong urine odour may indicate liver disease.
Dehydration occurs when one does not drink enough fluids and this may make urine darker apart from smelling like ammonia.
Drinking more fluids, especially water, will generally cause urine odour to return to normal.
A bladder fistula where there is a connection between the bladder and intestines may allow bacteria from the intestines to enter the bladder, causing urine to have a bad odour. Bladder fistulas can occur due to surgical injuries or diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease).
Dear Doctor: I have recently noticed that whenever I take coke, I sweat a lot. Even when it is cold, I sweat. But why does it particularly happen with the soda? Can I switch to other brands?
Dear Shanita; We sweat in order to cool down and this can happen when the weather is hot, when we exercise, when we have fever, are nervous, anxious or stressed.
Some people however sweat much more than is warranted to cool down. This over-sweating (hyperhidrosis) in most cases may happen to specific body parts such as palms, soles, underarms and to a lesser extent, the face. Rarely does it happen on the whole body.
Besides disrupting normal daily activities, hyperhidrosis can cause anxiety or embarrassment especially when the feet smell or the palms are dripping with sweat so that one fears to remove shoes publically or shake hands.
Over-sweating of the feet usually occurs together with the hands as a result of overactive nerves that control sweating (sympathetic nervous system).
In most cases, this may run in families and may be worsened by fear, stress and anxiety. The embarrassment and fear caused by hyperhidrosis unfortunately ends up causing more sweating. This is usually not associated with serious diseases.
Excessive sweating all over the body however is usually caused by an underlying health problem including certain medications, menopausal hot flashes, low blood sugar (especially in diabetics on medication), overactive thyroid gland, some types of cancer and infections such as malaria or tuberculosis.
Caffeine can on its own stimulate the central nervous system which activates sweat glands.
The more caffeine one consumes, the more they are likely to sweat. Caffeine may be found in tea, coffee or some sodas and most energy drinks.
Changing to other types of soft drink is one way to prevent the sweating, provided it does not contain caffeine. On the whole, fresh fruit juices are healthier than soft drinks.