Uterine fibroids are firm, compact benign tumors which are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that originate in the uterus (womb). Sometimes, these tumors become quite large and cause severe abdominal pain and heavy periods. Although it is not clearly known what causes fibroids, it is believed that each tumor develops from an aberrant muscle cell in the uterus, which multiplies rapidly because of the influence of the hormone estrogen.
Most women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms. But these fibroids can also cause a number of symptoms depending on their size, location within the uterus, and how close they are to adjacent pelvic organs. Symptoms of uterine fibroids may include heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods, pelvic pain due to the pressure caused as the tumor presses on pelvic organs, frequent urination, low back pain, pain during intercourse etc. In most cases, these heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, or the abnormal bleeding between periods, can lead to iron-deficiency or anaemia in women.
After uterine fibroids has been diagnosed properly relating its size, location etc. the patient may receive a combination of treatments. The doctor may prescribe medicines to destroy the fibroids. In case the fibroids are large and multiple, surgeries (myomectomy) may be performed. The doctor may also perform a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) if the condition worsens, or if no other treatments work. Also, a new and completely non-invasive surgical procedure can be performed. This is called forced ultrasound surgery (FUS) where high-energy, high-frequency sound waves are directed at the fibroids to destroy (ablate) them.
Fibroids are not cancerous nor do they interfere with pregnancy. In such instances, women can get along with it without any treatment. They tend to shrink after menopause, when levels of reproductive hormones drop. But, otherwise, in order to treat uterine fibroids, medications are prescribed to regulate the menstrual cycle, treating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. These medicines like Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists, Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) target the hormones and thus help to shrink the fibroids. Non -steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which may be taken side by along with the other medicines, may be effective in relieving pain related to fibroids.
MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery (FUS) is a noninvasive treatment option for uterine fibroids that preserves the uterus. A high-energy ultrasound transducer detects the precise location of the uterine fibroids and sound waves (sonications) are used to heat and destroy small areas of fibroid tissue. Also, small particles (embolic agents) can be injected into the arteries supplying the uterus. This helps to cut off blood flow to fibroids, causing them to shrink and die. Laparoscopic procedures like myolysis and robotic myomectomy can also be used.
In case of multiple fibroids, very large fibroids or very deep fibroids, the doctor decides to perform surgical operations to remove the uterine fibroids. An open abdominal surgical procedure can help relieve the pain but affect future fertility. Also, hysterectomy can be performed as a permanent procedure. This involves removal of the uterus and ends one’s ability to bear children.
Usually, uterine fibroids do not cause much trouble unless large. A patient should, nonetheless, consult a doctor if she has symptoms of fibroids which include irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, pelvic or abdominal pain, frequent painful urination, or an inability to control the flow of urine, increasing abdominal girth etc. These symptoms of vaginal bleeding is also associated with dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or chest pain
Unless women have bothersome or severe symptoms, they do not need to treat uterine fibroids. Doctors examine the changes and size of fibroids when one is pregnant to avoid any complication.
Myomectomy poses a unique set of side effects. Risks may include infection of the pelvic region including uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries, scar tissue, injuries to the bladder or bowel. As a result of fibroids, the person might already have lost blood. Surgical operations may cause further complications like blood loss, infertility etc. Also, such operations if carried out callously, can increase the risk factors of having cancer.
After treatment, all patients should follow their health care practitioner's instructions. A health care practitioner or doctor may choose to perform more frequent pelvic exams, such as every six months, to determine whether there has been additional growth of fibroid tissues or other complications.
Time to recover depends on the size of the fibroids and the procedure of treatment. Medications may take a longer time to gradually cut down on the tissues and fiber growths. Surgical operations also provide variable recovery time. Hysteroscopy is an outpatient procedure and requires from a few days to 2 weeks to recover. Laparoscopy requires 1 to 2 weeks. Laparotomy is a longer procedure and may require 4 to 6 weeks to recover.
Operations for removing uterine fibroids requires a huge amount. On an average, surgical operations cost Rs. 70,000- Rs. 90,000/-.
Use of medications like Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) and others do not guarantee a permanent cure. There may arise issues relating pregnancy or recurrent pregnancy loss related to submucosal fibroids. The only permanent solution for uterine fibroids is undergoing surgical operations. Complete removal of uterus provides permanent relief from extreme symptoms of fibroids but also take away the ability to become pregnant.
Homeopathy is a lot more effective treatment of uterine fibroids. Though slowly, but homeopathy provides the best non surgical treatment for fibroids. The medicines surely retard the growth of fibroids and over a period of time, the fibroids disappear completely. This is a far more effective and the most convenient treatment of fibroids.
There is no specific self-care is available for uterine fibroids. In case of immense pain, women may apply heat to the lower abdomen by using a heating pad or hot water bottle. Doing exercise, which improves blood flow, may also reduce pain. Anemia can be prevented by Increasing the amount of iron in the diet.
Rs 2000- Rs 90,000
Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumours of the womb (uterus). They are also known as myomas. They are growths of smooth muscle and fibrous tissue. The size of fibroids can vary from as small as a pea to that of a melon. At least one in five women develop a fibroid at some stage of their life, usually between the ages of 30-50 years old.
Fibroids are named according to where they are found in the womb. There are three types:
Intramural fibroids are found in the wall of the womb and are the most common type of fibroids found in women.
Subserosal fibroids are found growing outside the wall of the womb and can become very large. They can also grow on stalks (called pedunculated fibroids).
Submucosal fibroids are found in the muscle beneath the inner lining of the womb wall.
The majority of women with fibroids show no symptoms. However, if symptoms develop, they may experience one or more of the following:
Heavy or painful periods- in some cases this can lead to anaemia
Discomfort, or swelling, in the lower abdomen, particularly if the fibroids are large
Urinating frequently, usually if the fibroids are pressing on the bladder,
infertility Very rarely, fibroids can cause problems during pregnancy and labour
As fibroids rarely have symptoms, they are often found during a routine gynaecological (vaginal) examination. If fibroids are suspected, an ultrasound scan can be used to confirm a diagnosis. A trans-vaginal scan is sometimes used to diagnose fibroids. It involves a small scanner being inserted into the vagina to take a close-up image of the womb.
Fibroids near your inner lining, and those within the cavity of your womb, can be seen directly using a hysteroscope (small telescope used to examine the inside of your womb). To look at the size and shape of the outside of your womb a laparoscope (small flexible tubing used to look inside the abdomen) is used.
If you do not have any symptoms from your fibroids, treatment may not be necessary. Some women with minor symptoms, such as heavy periods, choose not to have treatment as their day-to-day life is not affected. After the menopause, fibroids often shrink, and your symptoms will either disappear or ease slightly.
To treat fibroids, your GP may recommend medication. However, in more severe cases, surgery can be considered.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Noncancerous growths of the muscle tissue surrounding the uterus are known as uterine fibroids. This is a common disease which about 70 to 80% of women contract by the time they are 50 years of age. The uterine fibroids can sometimes be very big and cause heavy periods as well as severe abdominal pain while at other times, uterine fibroids give no signs or symptoms whatsoever and go away on their own. This is why it is crucial to know what type of uterine fibroids you have and how to diagnose them. Here are the types of uterine fibroids and how to diagnose them;
There are three main types of uterine fibroids. They are;
1. Intramural fibroids: The most common type of uterine fibroids are intramural fibroids. They typically appear in the endometrium and may grow larger which results in your womb getting stretched.
2. Subserosal fibroids: Subserosal fibroids are called so because they form on the serosa. The serosa is the outside of your uterus. Sometimes, Subserosal fibroids may grow so large that your uterus appears bigger on one side.
There are a number of tests done to diagnose uterine fibroids. They are;
1. Pelvic exam: A pelvic exam is a thorough inspection of a woman’s pelvic area. The organs which are in the pelvic area include the cervix, ovaries, uterus and vagina. Normally, this and the next test in this article are enough to diagnose uterine fibroids.
2. Medical history: The history of your periods as well as the other symptoms you have will often be enough to diagnose the uterine fibroids. If your medical history is not enough, then you might need to undergo a pelvic exam.
3. Pelvic ultrasound: An ultrasound is when high-intensity sound waves are used to produce images of the pelvic area. This is only done when a pelvic exam and your medical history are not enough to diagnose uterine fibroids.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Also referred to as myomas or leiomyomas, uterine fibroids are the most common form of uterine tumors. In a recent study, it was found that about 70 to 80 percent of women are likely to be affected by uterine fibroids by the age of 50. And the most vulnerable age of developing uterine fibroids is between the age of 40s and early 50s.
What are uterine fibroids?
Fibroids are harmless and noncancerous tumors even though sometimes, they can give way to a rare form of cancer known as uterine sarcoma. But there is no precise way of detecting sarcoma expect when surgery is performed for removing fibroids. If you have uterine fibroids, it is important to discuss your risks for having uterine sarcoma with your doctor. Women who hail from Africa and America are more likely to have uterine fibroids. These fibroids tend to grow at a very young age and lead to more severe symptoms. You may also have increased risk of uterine fibroids in case you have never been pregnant or are severely obese.
Some women have uterine fibroids, but they don’t have any symptom or discomfort, and the number of such women is usually high. It is generally perceived that a woman with uterine fibroids who don't have any symptoms would not require much treatment other than general observation.
What are the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Even though numerous symptoms are associated with having uterine fibroids, the most common of them are having heavy menstrual flow with blood clots. It can also cause bleeding when you are not supposed to have menstruation, urge to pass urine frequently, abdominal bloating, pelvic cramping, and painful sex.
Even though you can still get pregnant while having uterine fibroids, you are likely to face various difficulties since these small lumps can alter the size as well as the shape of the uterus.
What is the most common treatment option for uterine fibroids?
Scores of hysterectomies, which is the medical term given to the surgical removal of the uterus, are performed each year for uterine fibroids. It not only snatches away the power to procreate but also carries its own risks and complications.Doctors suggest this option when uterine fibroids are very painful, or other treatment options have failed to eliminate the symptoms.
But the good news is that hysterectomy is not the only option for treating uterine fibroids. Other treatment options include myomectomy which is the surgical removal of the fibroid, hormone therapy to shrink the fibroid, Uterine Fibroid Embolization that stops the blood supply to the fibroid thus shrinking it, and Ultrasound to destroy the fibroids.
When you are nearing or in menopause, you can monitor the condition as the fibroids tend to shrink due to drop in the levels of estrogen and progesterone. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Cancer, be it in any part of the body, has an increased success rate of cure and survival, when it is diagnosed early. The same is true with uterine cancer, the most common form of female reproductive cancer. However, unfortunately, a limited section of the society is aware of the necessary information about this fatal disorder, which is incidentally treatable if caught at early stages. To help the cause, here is a brief note on what one should be aware of when it comes to uterine cancer.
What is uterine cancer?
Cancer which begins at the tissue lining of the uterus also referred to as the endometrium, is called uterine or endometrial cancer which occurs due to the abnormal growth of the cells that can invade the other parts of the body. Some people tend to confuse this with uterine sarcomas which start developing when there is cancer growth in the muscles and other supporting tissues in the uterus. Also, uterine sarcomas account for a small percentage of cancers in the uterus.
Who are at higher risk of being affected with uterine cancer?
It is presumed that post-menopausal women are at a higher risk of being affected by uterine cancer. The average women diagnosed with the disease is 60 years. It is very uncommon in women who are aged below 45 years, and the causes are not yet precisely known.
While menopausal and post-menopausal women are at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer, it is crucial to understand that women who don’t belong to any of the risk groups may also be diagnosed with the disease due to other factors such as obesity or hormone therapy for breast cancer.
What are the most common symptoms of uterine cancer?
Abnormal vaginal bleeding, which means bleeding after menopause or between periods, is the most common symptom of uterine cancer. Typically, the bleeding begins as a form of watery blood-streaked discharge that becomes bloodier with the passage of time.
Other signs and symptoms of uterine cancer include:
According to experts, a woman who undergoes any of these signs and symptoms should not ignore the condition and seek medical attention immediately. But it is important to note that these symptoms can indicate something more serious or less severe. You should always check with your doctor to know what’s bothering your body.
The good news is that endometrial or uterine cancer is treatable and there are several options for treatment when the diagnosis is made at an early stage. Treatment methods involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or surgical removal of the uterus depending on the particular scenario. To conclude, it can be said that being aware of the condition can help you in dealing with it. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Uterine fibroids are benign, muscular growths in the uterine wall which may grow within the wall of the uterus or may get attached to the wall. Uterine fibroids can be of many types depending on their location in the uterus – Subserosal fibroids are found on the outer surface of the uterus, just beneath the serosa which is the outer membrane lining the uterus; submuscosal fibroids are located inside the uterine cavity, beneath the endometrium; intramural fibroids are located inside the muscular wall of the uterus; and pedunculated fibroids grow on small stalks either inside the uterine cavity or on its outer surface.
Many women who have uterine fibroids do not show any symptoms and are often unaware of their existence till they have an ultrasound or medical check-up. But depending on the location and size of the fibroids, they can cause certain symptoms such as:
Depending on the location of the fibroid in the uterus and its size, uterine fibroids can negatively affect a woman’s fertility or lead to problems during pregnancy. More often, submucosal uterine fibroids, those that grow inside the uterine cavity and fibroids which are quite large in size (more than 5cm in diameter) cause infertility in women. This is because:
Most women with uterine fibroids do not experience problems with conceiving, however if you are experiencing fertility issues it is best to consult a doctor to determine if fibroids are causing the problem and pursuing their suggested course of action. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!