What Is Fibroid?
Fibroids are no cancerous growth that may occur in a woman’s uterus. They are 3 types, but the common ones are subserosal and intramural fibroids. They do not have a central cause, but there are risk factors. The medical treatment for fibroids can be medications or surgery. Also known as uterine fibroids or uterine myoma, fibroids are noncancerous growths that may occur in a woman’s uterus during her childbearing years.
Types of Fibroids
The type of fibroid a woman develops depends on its location on or in her uterus. There are three main types of fibroids:
- Subserosal fibroid: These are the most common type of fibroids. They can grow large at times and sometimes have a stalk that attaches to the uterus.
- Intramural fibroid: These fibroids develop in the muscular wall of the uterus.
- Submucosal fibroid: These fibroids are not as common as the other types of fibroids. They can grow into the open space inside the uterus and may also include a stalk. Submucosal fibroids may cause heavy menstrual bleeding and trouble conceiving.
The causes of fibroids are unknown but several factors such as a family history of fibroids, hormones, obesity, and pregnancy may influence their formation.
A woman’s chances of developing fibroids are increased if she has one or more of the following risk factors:
- A family history of fibroids
- Early-onset of puberty
Sometimes fibroids can become quite large and cause heavy periods, severe abdominal pain, and may even lead to trouble conceiving. In other cases, there may be no signs or symptoms at all.
Symptoms of fibroid may include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain in the pelvis or lower back
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Menstruation that lasts longer than usual
For a proper diagnosis, you’ll need to see a gynaecologist for a pelvic examination, other necessary tests may include:
- Pelvic MRI, CT, and Ultrasound scans.
There are several treatment plans for women with fibroids depending on their health, their age, the severity and type of fibroid.
There are several options for the medical treatment of fibroids and their symptoms. They include:
- Hormone Therapy
To help prevent more growth of the fibroid, your doctor may recommend that you stop taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. But in some cases, your doctor may prescribe birth control pills to help control the bleeding and anemia from fibroids, even though the hormones may cause fibroids to grow.
Hormone therapy often comes in form of medication. They include:
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) are a type of medicine that moderates estrogen levels and this may cause fibroids to shrink without leading to symptoms of menopause.
- GnRH antagonists.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists cause temporary menopause for as long as they are taken by suppressing the estrogen and progesterone levels, which stimulates the growth of fibroids. These drugs are expensive. GnRH antagonists shouldn’t be taken for more than 6 months because they increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, which makes your bones too frail.
- Hormonal birth control
Contraceptives that can be given orally, through injections, or intrauterine devices (IUD) to control the progesterone and regulate the ovulation cycle. This reduces the possibility of fibroid forming.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, etc, can be used to help you relieve pains and reduce the blood flow to the fibroids.
The removal of fibroids from the uterine wall. This is done when small fibroids are found in the uterus. Laparoscopy and hysteroscopy are used to remove the fibroids.
This procedure is used to remove the uterus where large lumps of fibroid have affected the area. There is:
- The partial hysterectomy, which removes only the part of the uterus where the fibroids are found, and
- The total hysterectomy, that involves removing the entire uterus.
This procedure is not suitable for pregnant women or those who still want to get pregnant.
- Endometrial Ablation
This procedure involves removing the lining of the uterine wall that is affected by the fibroid. A layer of lining is peeled off with the fibroids and some layers are left to heal.
- Uterine Artery Embolization
This involves the use of chemicals injected into the artery to block out all blood supply to the fibroids growing in the uterus.
This procedure involves providing the fibroids with enough cold to freeze them and removing them afterwards.
This procedure provides the fibroids with a heat source like radiofrequency waves which kills them and then laparoscopy is carried out to remove them.