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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 00:32 GMT
'I had an 11lb fibroid removed'
Bridgette York
Bridgette delayed surgery because she didn't want a hysterectomy
Bridgette York, a solicitor, was diagnosed with fibroids when she was 24 years old after finding a lump in her stomach.

Her GP told her she could simply feel her abdominal wall, and there was nothing to worry about.

But unconvinced, she persisted and was referred to a specialist.

An ultrasound showed four fibroids, the biggest of which was 10cm (3.9in) across.

At the time the condition wasn't causing her any problems and she was scared that she might have to have a hysterectomy.

So she put off having surgery for another nine years.

It's a benign condition, there's no need to go in and do heavy surgery
Bridgette York

Then she started having very heavy menstrual bleeding and realised she would have to have treatment.

"I was scared of what options were available, they were saying I would have to have a hysterectomy if the fibroids were over 10cm.

"I couldn't get information about it. Doctors mainly offered hysterectomy especially if you were over 30, which I was by then," she said.

Fibroid Network

Fibroids are common, benign growths of womb muscle.

Although they can often exist without causing symptoms, one of the most common complaints is very heavy periods.

It was the lack of information on alternative treatment options to hysterectomy that prompted Bridgette to set up Fibroid Network, a charity to offer support and advice to women in a similar position.

Two years ago she underwent a successful operation to remove the largest fibroid which by then weighed 5kg (11lb) - bigger than the average baby.

By waiting and finding out what other options were available, she ended up having a myomectomy, a procedure where surgeons remove the fibroids leaving the womb intact.

"I had a lot of trouble finding where I could get the treatment.

"But now I can have children if I want," she said.

"It's very important to get access to all the treatment options because a lot of women put off going to the doctors or don't go back.

"It's a benign condition, there's no need to go in and do heavy surgery.

"Who wants a premature surgical menopause," she added.

"About 99% of people who contact us want an alternative, even if they've already had children."


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