Uterine Fibroids: Types, Causes, and Symptoms
Uterine Fibroids are irregular developments in or on a woman’s uterus. These tumours can grow large, causing severe stomach pain and heavy periods. In some circumstances, they cause no signs or symptoms at all. The growths are generally mild or noncancerous.
- Fibroids vary a lot in size, shape, and location.
- It can range from tiny seedings to enormous masses and even expand to the uterus and uterine wall.
- There can be a presence of a single or a group of fibroids.
- Some fibroids are tiny in size that doctors can’t see with the naked eye, while some grow in big masses that affect the shape and size of the uterus, resulting in intense abdominal pain and heavy periods.
There is no recognized cause of Uterine fibroids. It affects all women in different ways. Most women have uterine fibroids, but they are unaware because they often cause no symptoms. But it is tough for women to live with fibroids who have symptoms. The acuteness of symptoms determines their treatment.
Table of Contents
Types of Uterine Fibroids
Uterine Fibroids are categorized based on their location in the uterus. Similarly, its treatment depends on its type, size, and several fibroids present. The types of fibroids are as follows: –
- Intramural Fibroids: – The fibroids that grow in the muscular wall of the uterus are called intramural fibroids.
- Submucosal Fibroids: – These are very common fibroids. It grows in the open space inside the uterus.
- Subserosal Fibroids:– This type of fibroid is the most frequent. They grow on the outer side of the uterus. These fibroids can become large and have a stalk that attaches to the uterus during pedunculated fibroid.
- Pedunculated fibroids:- Fibroids attached only with a thin stalk to the surface of the uterus are called pedunculated fibroids.
What are its Symptoms?
It is important to note that most fibroids will not cause any symptoms or complications. However, some fibroids can cause discomfort, and their symptoms are mainly influenced by the number of fibroids, their location, and their size.
The most common sign and symptoms of uterine fibroids are as follows: –
Causes of Uterine Fibroids?
The causes of fibroids are unclear, but several other things may influence their growth, such as: –
Uterine Fibroid growths are influenced by a person’s estrogen and progesterone level. These hormone levels are high during pregnancy and are produced by the ovaries. Low estrogen levels are associated with the shrinkage of fibroids which can occur during and after menopause.
Genetic factors may also impact the growth of fibroids. If a woman’s close relative has a history of fibroids, then her chances of having fibroids increase.
Obesity and overweight are also associated with an increased risk of fibroids.
4. Other Growth Factors
Substances that help the body support tissues may affect fibroid growth, such as insulin-like growth factors.
Who is at Risk of Uterine Fibroids?
Women are at more significant risk for growing fibroids if they have one or more of the subsequent risk factors:
How are Uterine Fibroids Diagnosed?
Your doctor will first do a physical abdominal and pelvic examination to know the presence of fibroids. This is also done to check the uterus’s condition, shape, and size. Your doctor may also advise you for other tests based on the symptoms and physical examination, which includes the following: –
A doctor will perform an ultrasound of the pelvis and abdomen to detect the number and size of the fibroids. They do this by scanning over the stomach or by inserting a small ultrasound probe into the vagina. Both procedures may be required to detect fibroids.
2. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
MRI is done to determine the size and number of fibroids. This is also done to differentiate fibroids from benign or cancerous conditions like adenomyosis or sarcomas.
3. CT scan
This may be required to study the organs of the pelvis and abdomen in detail.
This is a minimally invasive procedure where the doctor uses a small device with a camera attached to examine the inside of the uterus. They will insert the device via the vagina and into the uterus. They may also take a tissue sample, known as a biopsy, to look for cancer cells if necessary. This may assist analyze submucosal fibroids or fibroid polyps.
Your doctor might also perform a laparoscopy. They will insert a small, lighted tube into a small incision in the abdomen under anaesthesia to study the internal organs, uterus, ovaries, and surrounding structures. They may also take a biopsy if needed.
How can Uterine Fibroids be Treated?
Most fibroids do not cause symptoms, so they don’t require any treatment. After menopause, they automatically shrink or disappear.
But if it is causing discomfort and other symptoms, you can visit the doctor’s place and seek various medical treatments. There are different treatment options available depending on the signs and their type.
Your doctor may prescribe medicines to reduce estrogen and progesterone production without affecting fertility. These can be either oral or injectables to control the hormone level and shrink fibroids.
2. Surgical Procedures
Your doctor may recommend the surgical procedure for different conditions, such as3.
This is recommended to remove uterine fibroids, which have vast and multiple growths. This surgery procedure is highly advised for women who want to conceive.
Laparoscopy is suggested for women who have tiny and very few fibroids. This surgical process is typically used to remove one or two fibroids that have developed outside the uterus. This is performed using a few small incisions into which surgical tools and a camera are inserted.
The uterus is removed during this operation. It is mainly recommended for women who have big fibroids. In this, the ovaries and the uterus are sometimes removed together.
6. Other Methods
Some newer techniques are being used to control the symptoms and growth of fibroids. These include Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) or High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU).
Complications of Uterine Fibroids?
Very rarely, fibroids result in a complication. But in some women, it can lead to certain complications. Women might get heavy periods consistently, leading to anemia because of significant blood loss.
Large fibroids can cause lower abdominal swelling, discomfort, constipation, and uncomfortable bowel motions. Some women may develop urinary tract infections, and some may have difficulty conceiving.
Fibroids are most common in women approaching menopause. It usually does not result in complications and so does not require any treatment. But in case you are having fibroid and want to conceive. Then visit your doctor so they can monitor your condition correctly and provide suggestions and treatment accordingly.