Health A to Z Last updated on 2021-02-26 20:52:21
Facts About Uterine Fibroids
- Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
- 3 Min Read
Uterine fibroids are growths at the uterus that are benign in nature. It occurs during the reproductive age and possesses a very low risk of cancer, about 1 in 1000 cases. They are also known as leiomyomas, myoma, and fibromyoma. The size of fibroids vary a great deal, they can be as small as to be invisible to the naked eye or can be large enough to cause discomfort. One can have single or multiple fibroids. The causes of uterine fibroids are still not completely known but certain genetic and hormonal factors increase their risk. Since these fibroids are oestrogen dependent, they’re not usually seen before puberty and after menopause. However, they may multiply or grow rapidly during pregnancy owing to the increased oestrogen production. When the oestrogen production reduces after menopause, fibroids begin to shrink in size. Uterine fibroids happen to 25 to 30% of the women but 50% of these cases show no symptoms. Since a lot of fibroid cases are asymptomatic, women often miss them. The signs and symptoms of fibroids depend on the location & its size. Types of fibroids Fibroids are classified based on the location that they appear in- Uterine Fibroids
- Intramural fibroids- Grow within the muscular wall of the uterus
- Submucosal fibroids- Grow into the uterine cavity
- Subserosal fibroids- Are projected outwards of the uterus.
- Menstrual symptoms:
- Heavy/prolonged bleeding
- Painful abdominal menstrual cramps
- Symptoms due to the large size of fibroids pressing against bladder/rectum:
- Urine Retention
- Lower back pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Infertility & Reproductive symptoms:
- Difficulty getting pregnant (especially in submucosal fibroids)
- Repeated abortions
- Uterine artery embolization- This is a minimally invasive procedure where small particles known as embolic agents are injected which cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids. This causes them to shrink and die.
- Operative hysteroscopy - This is a minimally invasive process which requires no incision. In this method, the uterine cavity is first visualised by an instrument called Hysteroscope. Instruments for removing fibroids are inserted through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus. This method is used for removing submucous and intramural fibroids.
- Laparoscopic methods- In this method, the laparoscope is introduced through a small incision in the abdomen in order to access the fibroids. Fibroids are broken down and sucked out through the laparoscope. Intramural Fibroids and subserous fibroids can be removed with this method.
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