Uterine fibroids or leiomyomas or myomas are non-cancerous growths of the uterine muscles.
They most often appear in women during their childbearing years. The uterus is a lemon-sized inverted pear-shaped organ in the pelvic area. During pregnancy, a baby grows and develops in the uterus.
Uterine fibroid can be a single isolated growth or may occur in a cluster. The diameter of nodules can range from 1mm to more than 8 inches. Sometimes, the lesion can be as large as a watermelon.
Are fibroids in the uterus wall common?
Fibroid growth in the pelvis is common. According to various studies, more than 50 percent of women may have fibroids. However, these fibroids do not cause any symptoms in most women.
What are risk factors for uterine fibroids development?
Fibroids most commonly happens in women of childbearing age. Typically, young women who have not got their first period do not show fibroids.
Though doctors cannot attribute any cause for the development of fibroids, some risk factors may increase chances of developing fibroids:
Where are fibroids usually grow in the uterus?
Fibroids can occur at any location inside and outside of your uterus.
The location and size of the fibroid may determine the treatment modality.
We can categorize the fibroids based on their location of occurrence
Can all uterine fibroids develop into cancer?
Rarely a uterine fibroid undergoes a malignant (cancerous) transformation. No one can predict that whether a uterine fibroid will develop into cancer or not. But if gynecologists observe rapid growth in the size of fibroids, they evaluate it further to rule out malignancy.
What are the most common signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids depend on their size and location. Small, isolated fibroids may escape diagnosis as they do not cause any symptoms.
Larger fibroids can cause a variety of symptoms, including but not limited to:
The symptoms usually diminish after menopause due to a decrease in hormone levels within the body.
How do you test for uterine fibroids?
Asymptomatic fibroids may often escape any diagnosis.
A gynecologist may discover some fibroids during a regular or prenatal exam. Sometimes the history of pain and heavy menstrual bleeding may alert your doctor to go for further investigations.
Tests that can diagnose the size and location of fibroids are:
What is the treatment of choice for uterine fibroids?
Treatment of the fibroids depends on the following:
Medications for symptomatic relief:
Some surgical options may preserve the uterus while others can either damage or remove the uterus. Therefore the desire to preserve the uterus or chances of future pregnancy is also an important factor in determining the type of surgical option for treating fibroids.
Myomectomy: It removes the fibroids without damaging the uterus. There are three types of myomectomy procedures.
The surgeon inserts a scope a thin, flexible tube-like tool through the vagina and cervix into the uterine cavity and removes the fibroids without making any incision.
The surgeon makes few small incisions in the abdomen and inserts a scope to remove the fibroids.
A larger incision is made in the abdomen to remove the fibroids.
There are some surgical options for patients, who do not want to have future pregnancies or do not desire to protect the uterus.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided focused ultrasound
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