Fibroids are noncancerous growths that occur and develop in a woman’s uterus. This may occur during early childhood development or at a later stage. Fibroids are also commonly known as leiomyomas and are not benign and rarely develop into cancerous growths.
The cause of fibroids is dependent on the number of growths, the size and where it is situated. The most commonly known symptoms are heavy menstrual flow, menstrual cycle that lasts more than a week, constipation, difficulty / frequently urinating, lower back and abdominal pains and pressure on the pelvic area. For a proper diagnosis, you would need to consult a gynecologist, which will indicate the size, condition and shape of your pelvis.
Different types of fibroids:
- Subserosal fibroids – These are the most common fibroids and known for benign tumours that are situated outside the uterus. The growths can either be found directly on the uterus or attached by a thin stalk. These growths vary in size and can be situated at different areas of the uterus.
- Intramural fibroids – They are fibroids that grow between the muscles of the uterus. The sizes may vary from small to large and can be located either at the front (anterior) , back (posterior) or upper (fundal instrumental) part of the uterus.
- Submucosal fibroids – This is the least common type of fibroid. This is situated under the uterine lining. As the fibroid grows it has an effect on the uterine cavity, whereby it blocks the fallopian tubes which makes it difficult for sperm cells to travel to the uterus.
The risks factors of fibroids:
- Long-term use of oral contraceptives
- Pregnancy complications
- Genetically carried
- Black women are more likely to develop fibroids
- Menstruation can occur at an early stage
- Fibroids become more common between the ages of 30-40 years
The most common treatments:
The treatments may vary depending on the severity thereof. Let’s have a look at the most common treatments for fibroids .
If women plan on getting pregnant it would be highly recommended to have it surgically removed as it can have an effect on your pregnancy. If you decide to have the fibroids removed you have two options
- Myomectomy – This procedure removes only the fibroids that are situated in the uterus. There are no changes done to the uterus and relieves the bleeding and other symptoms. This procedure would be the best option if you plan on having children in the future. Depending on the size, where the fibroids are situated there are 3 ways in which a myomectomy can be done. You will undergo a general anesthesia for the following methods (Hysteroscopy, Abdominal myomectomy and Laparoscopy) of removing the fibroids.
- Hysterectomy – This procedure removes your entire uterus which may include your cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries and various other abdominal structures. This type of surgery relieves all the symptoms of large uterine fibroids, however you will not be able to have any children.
Women are given medication to relieve the pain symptoms but it does not make the fibroids go away. Many women that experience heavy bleeding, it would be recommended to first try the medication before undergoing surgical removal.
Contraceptives/ Intrauterine devices (IUD):
This may be a long-term solution. Women with a heavy menstrual flow are often given hormonal medication to reduce the bleeding and regulate their cycle. This however will not decrease the growth of fibroids. Another option would be to insert an IUD where small amounts of hormones are entered into the uterine cavity and reduces the bleeding caused by the fibroids.
A visit to your preferred gynecologist is highly recommended for regular examination of your reproductive organs and identify any abnormalities.
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