Uterine fibroids are noncancerous or benign growths that develop inside the uterus, typically during childbearing. These fibroids, also known as leiomyomas, generally comprise muscle fibers and connective tissues in the uterus wall. These growths are not associated with increased cancer risk and usually never turn into cancerous tumors.
The uterine fibroids’ size ranges from a merely visible seedling to a bulky mass that can cause the uterus to enlarge. Sometimes, they can develop into a structure resembling a stalk or stem. The number and location of these fibroids may also vary, i.e., you may have only one or multiple fibroids in your uterus, its surface, or uterine wall.
The types of uterine fibroids based on their location include:
- Intramural fibroids: These are the most common type and grow inside the tissue of the womb.
- Subserous fibroids: These fibroids develop on the outside wall of the uterus and grow into the pelvis.
- Submucous fibroids: These fibroids develop on the inside wall of the womb and grow into the uterine cavity.
- Pedunculated fibroids: These fibroids grow into the womb through a narrow stalk.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Causes Uterine Fibroids?
- 2 What are the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?
- 3 Who Is Most Likely To Have Fibroids?
- 4 How are Fibroids diagnosed?
- 5 Uterine Fibroids Treatment Options
- 6 Uterine Fibroids FAQ
- 7 Request an Appointment
What Causes Uterine Fibroids?
The exact reason for uterine fibroids is not yet known. However, experts suggest these may develop due to abnormal uterine muscle cell growth. These growths acquire more size when there is high estrogen and progesterone activity in the body.
Some doctors believe uterine fibroids develop due to stem cell activity, which triggers the division of smooth muscular tissues of the uterus. This cell division causes a single cell to undergo repeated divisions, eventually forming a rubbery mass that looks and behaves differently from the nearby tissue.
Some risk factors of uterine fibroids include:
- Excessive estrogen hormone production
- Some other factors like obesity, vitamin D deficiency, and alcohol consumption
What are the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids usually remain asymptomatic. But the symptoms that show up do so based on their size, location, and the number of fibroids.
The most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Longstanding menstrual periods (generally lasting more than a week)
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Pressure or discomfort in the pelvis
- Increased frequency of urination
- Difficulty expelling all of the urine
- Pain in the leg or back
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Who Is Most Likely To Have Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are more common among women between 30 and 40, but they can develop at any age. According to statistics, fibroids are more likely to develop in American women of African descent.
How are Fibroids diagnosed?
A pelvic exam is an initial measure taken by your doctor to confirm or rule out the presence of uterine fibroids. In many cases, these fibroids are diagnosed accidentally during a gynecological exam. This is because these uterine growths do not usually cause any symptoms.
Other tests performed to diagnose this condition include the following.
An ultrasound scan is a standard test to diagnose numerous cervical and uterine issues, including uterine fibroids. This painless diagnostic procedure involves using a probe that produces sound waves to get an image of your internal body organs. The two main ultrasound scans to diagnose fibroids include:
- An abdominal ultrasound scan – a scan that involves pressing the ultrasound handpiece against the abdominal skin and moving it across a particular area
- A transvaginal ultrasound scan – a more specific scan during which a small ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina
A hysteroscopy involves inserting a miniature camera (hysteroscope) into the womb through the vaginal cavity and cervix. This test generally takes five minutes to complete but may take some more time, depending on the number and location of fibroids.
Uterine Fibroids Treatment Options
Treatments for uterine fibroids fall into two categories: medication and surgery. Your GP will recommend the most suitable option after determining the severity of your condition.
Here is a brief overview of the options to treat uterine fibroids.
Your GP may recommend medications if your fibroids need treatment. However, you will probably need to meet a gynecologist if you want to discuss more treatment options.
Generally, the medication options for fibroids include medicines for symptoms and shrinking fibroids. Here is what’s included in both these options:
- Medication for symptoms: Levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS), Tranexamic acid, anti-inflammatory drugs, contraceptive pills, oral progestogen, and injectable progestogen
- Medication to shrink fibroids: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues (GnRHas) and Ulipristal acetate
Your doctor may recommend the surgical option to remove uterine fibroids if medication has not been effective or your symptoms are severe. Generally, your GP will refer you to a gynecologist who will discuss the appropriate surgical option to treat your condition.
The main surgical options to treat fibroids include the following:
- Hysteroscopic resection of fibroids
- Hysteroscopic morcellation of fibroids
Uterine Fibroids FAQ
Can fibroids turn into cancer?
Uterine fibroids neither evolve into cancer nor increase the cancer risk.
Could my fibroids come back after treatment?
Generally, the fibroids do not grow back after surgery. However, new fibroids may still develop in your uterus. When that happens, you will need a repeat procedure to remove the newly grown fibroids. According to statistics, about 33% of women undergoing fibroid removal surgery will get new fibroids after a few years.
Can uterine be treated without surgery?
Yes, specific non-surgical procedures can help remove fibroids, such as:
Uterine artery embolization
Ultrasound treatment during MRI scanning
What happens if fibroids go untreated?
If left untreated, uterine fibroids can cause bleeding that may lead to anemia. In some women, fibroids may lead to infertility.
Request an Appointment
Do you want to get treatment for Uterine Fibroids or discuss its treatment options in more detail? A consultation at EuroMed Clinic Dubai may encompass answers to all your questions and concerns. Our gynecology department is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and run by highly experienced medical staff to offer viable solutions for all your reproductive health concerns.
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