Fibroids, or myomas are benign, non-cancerous growths that develop inside or around the womb (uterus). These growths are made up of muscles or fibrous tissue. These are also called uterine myomas or leiomyomas.
Many women have no symptoms and often totally unaware that they are suffering from uterine fibroids. Out of every 3 Women who suffer from fibroids, 1 woman presents with its signs and symptoms. These being:
– Painful periods
– Heavy periods (excessive bleeding)
– Pain in abdomen
– Pain in back, mainly lower back region.
– Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
– Increase frequency of urination.
In some cases, fibroids are also known to cause infertility and complicate pregnancies. As fibroids mostly do not cause any symptoms they are usually diagnosed during routine gynaecological examinations. If the doctor thinks a person is suffering from fibroids on physical examination, it can be further confirmed by ultrasound scan.
The exact cause of fibroids is still unclear but they have been linked to the hormone estrogen (Estrogen is the female hormone produced by ovaries). As estrogen is known to be one of the factors causing fibroids, they are more common in the female reproductive years i.e. 16-49, because estrogen levels during this age is high. Fibroids tend to shrink on their own afterwards when estrogen level drops in later age. Fibroids have an increased tendency to develop in women of African-American origin, as well as overweight and obese women because being overweight increases the level of estrogen in the body. Women who have had children have a decrease risk of developing fibroids and the risks decreases further the more children you have.
Fibroids can grow anywhere in the uterus. They vary a lot in sizes too, ranging from a few centimeters to several. In medical terms there are three types of fibroids:
– Intramural fibroids: These are the most common type of fibroids and develop inside the muscle wall of womb (uterus).
– Sub-serosal fibroids: These develop outside the wall of womb and can extend into adjacent structures.
– Submucosal fibroids: These develop just inside the inner lining of uterus and thus can expand into uterine cavity.
If the fibroids are asymptomatic, they do not need to be treated. With time, they’ll often shrink and disappear without treatment, particularly after the menopause. If they are symptomatic, there are certain medications that can help with pain and also reduce size of fibroids. If this fails surgical intervention or less invasive procedures are recommended.
You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 1300 464 464.
This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.