Fibroids (Myomas, Leiomyomas):
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors of the uterus that appear during your childbearing years. Fibroids can appear on the inside or outside lining of your uterus, or within its muscular wall. They usually develop from a single smooth muscle cell that continues to grow.
Fibroids often are asymptomatic, but if causes symptoms discussed below, the treatment depends on the size, number and location of the fibroids and may include drugs and surgery. Fibroids rarely turn cancerous
Fibroids are mostly asytmptomatic. Symptoms may include:
- Heavy periods.
- Lengthy periods.
- Pelvic pain.
- Difficulty getting pregnant.
- Spotting between periods.
- Painful intercourse.
- A sensation of heaviness or pressure in the back, bowel and bladder.
- Frequent urination.
- A lump or swelling in the lower abdomen.
Types Of Fibroids
Fibroids are categorized by their location, which includes:
Intramural – growing in the uterine wall. Intramural fibroids are the most common variety.
Submucosal – growing in the uterine lining (endometrium). This type tends to cause excessive menstrual bleeding and period pain
Subserosal – growing on the exterior wall of the uterus. They sometimes appear like a lemon on a stick
A polyp is a small protrusion that looks like a tiny ball on the end of a slim stalk. Endometrial polyps can also contribute to menstrual problems, such as excessive bleeding or bleeding between the periods.
Most fibroids do not cause symptoms, and do not require treatment. A ‘wait and see’ approach is sometimes adopted
Fibroids may require treatment in the following circumstances:
- Fibroids that are growing rapidly
- Large fibroids causing pressure symptoms
- Fibroids causing abnormal bleeding
- Fibroids causing problems with fertility
Treatment depends on the location, size and number of the fibroids, but may include:
Drugs – such as hormones, used in combination to shrink the fibroids prior to surgery
Hysteroscopy – the fibroids are removed via the cervix, using a hysteroscope
Laparoscopy – or ‘keyhole surgery’, where a thin tube is inserted through the abdomen to remove the fibroids
Open surgery – larger fibroids need to be removed via an abdominal incision. This procedure weakens the uterine wall, and makes Caesarean sections for subsequent pregnancies more likely
Hysterectomy – the surgical removal of some, or all, of the uterus. Pregnancy is no longer possible after a hysterectomy