About Uterine Fibroids
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids (also referred to as myoma, leiomyoma, leiomyomata, and fibromyoma) are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that grow within the muscle tissue of the uterus. Between 20-50% of women of childbearing age have uterine fibroids. While many women do not experience any problems, symptoms can be severe enough to require treatment.
Fibroids range in size from very small (coin sized) to larger than a melon. A very large uterine fibroid can cause the uterus to expand to the size of a six or seven-month pregnancy. There can either be one dominant fibroid or a cluster of many small fibroids.
There are many treatment options including MR Guided focused ultrasound which destroy fibroids without incisions.
There are four primary types of uterine fibroids, classified primarily according to location in the uterus:
|Subserosal uterine fibroids||These fibroids develop in the outer portion of the uterus and continue to grow outward.|
|Intramural uterine fibroids||The most common type of fibroid. These develop within the uterine wall and expand making the uterus feel larger than normal (which may cause “bulk symptoms”).|
|Submucosal uterine fibroids||These fibroids develop just under the lining of the uterine cavity. These are the fibroids that have the most effect on heavy menstrual bleeding and the ones that can cause problems with infertility and miscarriage.|
|Pedunculated||Fibroids that grow on a small stalk that connects them to the inner or outer wall of the uterus.|
What are common symptoms of uterine fibroids?
- Very heavy and prolonged menstrual periods
- Pain in the back of the legs
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pressure on the bladder which leads to a constant need to urinate, incontinence, or the inability to empty the bladder
- Pressure on the bowel which can lead to constipation and/or bloating
- An enlarged abdomen which may be mistaken for weight gain or pregnancy
How do I know if I have uterine fibroids?
During a visit to investigate these symptoms, your doctor will check the size of your uterus. If it feels enlarged, your doctor may order an ultrasound or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) session, which can confirm the presence, location and size of fibroids. After identifying the size and location of your fibroid(s), and possibly after other diagnostic tests, your doctor may be able to rule out other potentially more serious conditions, and advise you of your options and a recommended course of treatment for the fibroids. If you do not notice any symptoms caused by fibroids there is no need to treat them. Your doctor may want to watch them and check for any growth.
What are my uterine fibroids treatment alternatives?