Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids are tumour-like growths in the uterus. They are non-cancerous and very rarely develop into cancer. They are very common and occur in women during the childbearing years. Fibroids may grow along the wall of the uterine cavity. Uterine fibroids are also known as myomas or leiomyomas. Fibromas is another term used to refer to fibroids in the uterus.

 

UTERINE FIBROIDS SYMPTOMS

Usually, the growth of fibroids in the uterus is not accompanied by symptoms. Most women do not have any fibroid symptoms, even if they have fibroids.

The symptoms of uterine fibroids are as follows:

  • Very heavy bleeding during menstrual cycle
  • Longer menstrual period – for 7 days or more
  • Bloated feeling in lower abdominal area
  • Feeling of pressure or even pain in the pelvic region
  • The urge to urinate frequently
  • Constipation

These are some of the common symptoms of fibroids. However, having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have fibroids. These are general symptoms and could be due to other reasons as well.

CAUSES OF FIBROIDS

The actual cause of fibroid is unknown. There is very little known about why fibroids form, increase or shrink in size. Scientists have found that the fibroid in the uterus is affected by the hormones – oestrogen and progesterone. The increased hormone levels during pregnancy can cause the fibroid to increase in size. These fibroids return to their regular size after pregnancy.

Some researchers believe that fibroids could be hereditary. They feel that the cause of fibroids is genetics. However, there is no conclusive evidence. Preventative measures for fibroids are limited due to the lack of knowledge regarding the cause of fibroids.

FIBROID UTERUS TREATMENT

Uterine fibroid treatment is recommended only when it is causing pain or physical discomfort. Generally, uterine fibroids reduce or disappear as a woman enters menopause. Some doctors recommend this wait and watch technique to ascertain if treatment is required.

UTERUS FIBROID TREATMENT IS OF SEVERAL TYPES:
  • Gn-RH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonists
  • Myomectomy: A procedure to remove the fibroids. This procedure can be hysteroscopy or laparoscopic
  • Hysterectomy: removal of the uterus and a permanent solution to prevent fibroids
  • Non-invasive procedure: performed using an ultrasound transducer to destroy the fibroids.
  • Uterine artery embolization

EFFECTS OF UTERINE FIBROIDS ON PREGNANCY

Usually, fibroids do not affect pregnancy. A woman can naturally conceive even if she has fibroids. However, sometimes, fibroids could lead to preterm births or miscarriages if they are large and continue to increase in size.

The presence of fibroids may affect delivery by causing an abnormal position of the foetus, resulting in the need for a caesarean section.

UTERINE FIBROIDS – PROGNOSIS

Many women live with undetected fibroids without any health issues. It is when you only have symptoms like heavy bleeding and longer periods, spotting between your periods, painful cramps or any other symptoms like pain, that you seek medical attention. In rare cases, if the fibroids could affect pregnancy or are preventing conception, due to its location in the uterus, treatment is recommended.

Related Questions:

Q) DOES FIBROID IN UTERUS PREVENT PREGNANCY?

A) Usually, fibroids in uterus do not cause infertility or prevent pregnancy. Submucosal fibroids may hamper conception, especially if they are larger than 6cm. In rare instances, fibroids have been known to block the fallopian tubes and prevent pregnancy.

Q) WILL FIBROIDS GO AWAY ON ITS OWN?

A) Some fibroids appear and disappear on their own. When a woman enters menopause, fibroids tend to shrink in size or even go away by themselves. Some fibroids require treatment.

Q) WHAT HAPPENS TO UNTREATED UTERINE FIBROIDS?

A) Large fibroids may cause pain or pressure and require treatment. Some fibroids may continue to grow if not treated and cause heavy bleeding, cramps and abdominal pressure.

Q) WHAT ARE THE REASONS OF FIBROIDS IN UTERUS?

A) A large percentage of women tend to develop fibroids, especially in their 40’s. The reason for this occurrence still confounds researchers.

References : 
1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673600036229
2. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1471-0528.1990.tb01804.x
3. https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/11405968