Fibroids in the uterus which are also known as uterine fibroids are tumors which stem from cells that form the muscles of the uterus or womb. These fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyoma or myoma, grow on the walls of the uterus, pushing outside into the bladder, intestine or bowel. They may also grow inside the walls of the uterus or project outside into the cavity through a narrow stalk. The fibroids may be small like peas or large like footballs and are generally benign. Uterine fibroids do not enhance risks of a cancer.
If the group of fibroids is especially large or grows outside the uterine walls, it may push aside the uterus or compel an abnormal growth. The growth may even pressurize the intestines or the bladder. Rarely, a large fibroid can impede the uterine opening when a pregnant woman is required for a caesarean section. While the causes of fibroids in the uterus are not confirmed, they are partly created by alteration of the estrogen levels.
If the levels are high due to pregnancy or taking of contraceptive pills, the fibroid growth is enhanced. 20% women who have attained their childbearing age have the fibroid growths.
Symptoms of fibroids in the uterus
Often, women are not aware of the fact that they have these fibroids. The symptoms include:
- Heavy and prolonged menstruation leading to anemia and iron deficiency
- Painful periods
- Frequent and uncomfortable urination resulted by bladder pressure
- Back ache
- Pelvic pain
Uterine fibroids are usually found in routine internal examination with the doctor identifying an irregular or lumpy uterus. In case the symptoms are painful or recurring, the doctor may try an ultrasound for differentiating the fibroids in the uterus from tumors, pelvic masses or cysts. If they grow in the interior of the uterine cavity, they may be seen through a hysteroscope or a tube which is inserted into the uterus. Usually, fibroids do not require treatment unless the signs are problematic. The doctor makes recommendations on the basis of the following:
- The amount of blood loss or pain during periods
- Speed of fibroid growth
- Age, as fibroids contract with the beginning of menopause
- Desire to conceive
Rarely, fibroids lead to infertility; certain surgery options also lead to sterility. If you are in for treatment, some options to consider are:
- Endometrial Ablation: This is recommended for fibroids that grow in the inner linings of your uterus. The endometrial tissue is eliminated.
- Myolysis: This is possible through laparoscopy. A needle is inserted into the fibroid to cauterize it.
- Myomectomy: Through this surgical process, the fibroids are eliminated leaving the uterus intact. It is recommended for women planning to have kids.
- Laparascopic Myomectomy: This is used when the fibroid has grown outside your uterine cavity. Otherwise, hysteroscopic myomectomy is recommended.
- Hysterectomy: This is the process through which the uterus is totally removed, eliminating the possibility of conception.
- Artery Embolization: A radiologist performs this process with advanced X-rays for pointing out the fibroid location and its surrounding blood vessels.
Some treatments for eliminating fibroids in the uterus are more effective than others. If you want to do away with the uterus altogether, you may go for a hysterectomy.