Uncontrollable bleeding every day for months on end made life a misery for uterine fibroid sufferer Becky Bevers.
For nearly a year, the 46 year old training consultant would bleed continually due to fibroids that were one of the worst cases her consultant had seen, resulting in Becky having to undergo an emergency hysterectomy.

Explained Becky, who is married with a daughter and lives in Minehead, Somerset: “I had constant bleeding. It was like a tap that just kept gushing. On one occasion I woke up in the night and the whole bed was covered in blood even though I’d been wearing two sanitary towels.

“The final straw was when I was going to Hertfordshire for a very important client meeting. I had only been driving for about 45 minutes and I looked down and was sat in a pool of blood – it was just pumping out of me. All over the car seat, all over my dress.”

Becky’s problems began about six years ago when she started having complications with her periods, which she attributed to treatment she had undergone for cancer.

“I’d had breast cancer in 2003 and had a mastectomy and had been on tamoxifen for about five years. Eventually I had to come off the tamoxifen and it was around this time that my periods became irregular and very heavy. It got to the stage when I was just constantly bleeding.”

“I don’t know if I was anaemic but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was. I felt completely drained – I had no energy, was really weak and just felt awful.”

Uterine fibroids are common, with around 40 in every 100 women developing them at some time in their life. They most often occur in women aged from 30-50 years old, but can develop in women younger and older.1 Around one in every three women with fibroids experience some symptoms that may include heavy, long and painful periods, bleeding between periods, feeling ‘full’ in the lower part of the stomach, pain or discomfort during sex, problems getting pregnant and miscarriages.1

Despite seeing her doctor and being sent for a scan in 2008, nothing was found. However, the bleeding continued and it was an emergency visit to hospital where the problem was finally diagnosed.

Said Becky: “After the incident in the car when I was sat in a pool of blood, I rang my husband in a panic and he said to get to casualty immediately.

“I remember walking into hospital covered in blood, with blood running down my legs. Part of me was just so embarrassed, but then another part of me didn’t care because I was so frightened.”

After being given a drug to stop the bleeding, Becky was sent for an internal examination under general anaesthetic, which revealed that her uterus was severely distended with multiple fibroids, one of which was the size of a 12 week old foetus – equivalent to a grapefruit.

Due to the severity of her condition, Becky was advised to have a hysterectomy.

“Although I had my daughter and didn’t want any more children it was such a shock. I did ask if there were any other options but they said this was the best way forward. Having had a mastectomy, it does affect how you feel as a woman. Then being told that the one thing you have left that makes you a woman is being taken out is really difficult to deal with.

“The operation was horrendous and the whole experience was worse than having the breast cancer. I was in incredible pain and a week after the surgery, I was back in hospital as I got an infection and had to have antibiotics to stop it turning into septicaemia.”

Becky advises other women to seek medical advice as soon as possible if they are having problems with their periods.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, go and see your doctor straight way. If they don’t find anything, persevere and maybe get a second opinion – I can’t believe that my first scan showed nothing yet months later my entire uterus was full of masses of fibroids.”

She also urges women with fibroids to find out about all the treatment options available, as they may be able to avoid having to undergo major surgery.

“I remember when I was having my operation there was a girl aged 25 in the bed opposite me being told she had to have a hysterectomy because of her fibroids. I felt so sad for her as she wanted to have children.

“There are now treatments available that can help control the symptoms of fibroids, so you may not have to go through what I did. Make sure you know about all the options and discuss them with your consultant.”

For further information about fibroids, including the causes, symptoms and treatment options, visit the patient website fibroidsconnect.com , the British Fibroid Trust at www.britishfibroidtrust.org.uk or NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk

[1] NHS Choices 1, Fibroids, at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Fibroids/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Accessed January 2014)

[2] Fibroidsconnect.com was fully developed and funded by Gedeon Richter