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11/05/2018 09:56 SAST | Updated 11/05/2018 09:56 SAST

What Are Fibroid Tumours? FKA Twigs Reveals She Underwent Surgery To Remove 6 From Uterus

The singer says she has been suffering from a "fruit bowl of pain."

Stephane Cardinale - Corbis via Getty Images
FKA Twigs attends the Fashion Awards 2017 at Royal Albert Hall on Dec. 4, 2017.
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis via Getty Images

FKA Twigs revealed this week that she had been taking a break from her music career over the past few months to recover from surgery to remove six fibroid tumours from her uterus.

In an Instagram post, the singer shared her "excruciating" experience living with the tumours, which she described as a "fruit bowl of pain."

dear friends, I am a very private person as u all know and I have gone back and forth in my mind whether to share that this year I have been recovering from laparoscopic surgery to remove 6 fibroid tumours from my uterus. the tumours were pretty huge, the size of 2 cooking apples 🍎 🍎, 3 kiwis 🥝 🥝 🥝 and a couple of 🍓🍓. a fruit bowl of pain everyday. the nurse said that the weight and size was like being 6 months pregnant. I tried to be brave but it was excruciating at times and to be honest I started to doubt if my body would ever feel the same again. I had surgery in December and I was so scared, despite lots of love from friends and family I felt really alone and my confidence as a woman was knocked. but... today whilst dancing with Kelly at the choreography house I felt like my strong self again for the first time in a while and it was magical. thank you precious body for healing, thank you for reminding me to be kind to myself, you are a wonderful thing, now go create and be other once again <3 I know that a lot of women suffer from fibroid tumours and I just wanted to say after my experience that you are amazing warriors and that you are not alone. you can get through this. and with this I let go of the pain... love always twigs 🌱

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"The tumours were pretty huge, the size of 2 cooking apples, 3 kiwis and a couple of [strawberries]. A fruit bowl of pain everyday," Twigs wrote. "The nurse said that the weight and size was like being 6 months pregnant."

She continued, "I tried to be brave but it was excruciating at times and to be honest I started to doubt if my body would ever feel the same again. I had surgery in December and I was so scared, despite lots of love from friends and family I felt really alone and my confidence as a woman was knocked."

But what are fibroid tumours?

Also called uterine fibroids, fibroid tumours are benign (noncancerous) tumours of the uterus that often appear during a woman's childbearing years, according to the Mayo Clinic. While they can be painful, these tumours aren't related to an increased risk of uterine cancer, and almost never turn into cancer.

"There is virtually no threat of malignancy — and there are a number of excellent treatment options, as well as the option to do nothing at all — so there really is no reason to worry," Steve Goldstein, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Medical Center, told WebMD.

The tumours can range in size from being almost undetectable by eye to masses so big they can enlarge the uterus.

What are the symptoms?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that one study found that up to 70 per cent of white women and 80 per cent of black women have fibroid tumours by the age of 50, however, many women who have them don't have symptoms.

For those that do have symptoms, the most common are:

  • Heavy periods
  • Periods that last more than a week
  • Pelvic pressure and/or pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Constipation
  • Backache or leg pain

What health risks do they carry?

According to MedicineNet.com, some studies suggest that fibroid tumours may cause infertility, and can lead to difficulties during pregnancy, including placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, and preterm delivery.

"In particular, submucosal fibroids that deform the inner uterine cavity are most strongly associated with decreases in fertility. Occasionally, fibroids are the cause of recurrent miscarriages. If they are not removed in these cases, the woman may not be able to sustain a pregnancy," the site reports.

The Mayo Clinic notes that these fibroids usually aren't dangerous, but can lead to complications such as anemia from heavy blood loss.

What causes them?

HealthLine says there are no clear reasons why fibroids develop, but notes factors such as hormones, family history of fibroids, and pregnancy can influence whether they form or not.

How can you prevent them?

Doctors are learning more and more about fibroids and how to treat them, but there's still not a lot of information out there on how to prevent them, aside from maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. However, the Mayo Clinic notes that only a small percentage of the tumours require treatment.

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