What every woman needs to know about fibroids

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Women are given medication to relieve the pain symptoms but it does not make the fibroids go away.
Women are given medication to relieve the pain symptoms but it does not make the fibroids go away.

Fibroids are noncancerous growths that occur in a woman's uterus. They may develop during early childhood or at a later stage and are commonly known as leiomyomas. 

While they rarely develop into cancerous growths, they can cause pregnancy complications and in some cases infertility. 

The most commonly known symptoms are heavy menstrual flow, a menstrual cycle that lasts more than a week, constipation, difficult or frequent urination, lower back and abdominal pains and pressure on the pelvic area.

For a proper diagnosis, you would need to consult a gynaecologist, who will indicate the size, condition and shape of your pelvis.

Different types of fibroids

1. Subserosal fibroids 

These are the most common fibroids and known for benign tumours that are situated outside the uterus. The growths can either be found directly on the uterus or attached by a thin stalk. These growths vary in size and can be situated in different areas of the uterus.

2. Intramural fibroids 

They are fibroids that grow between the muscles of the uterus. The sizes may vary from small to large and can be located either at the front (anterior), back (posterior) or upper (fundal instrumental) part of the uterus.

3. Submucosal fibroids

This is the least common type of fibroid. This is situated under the uterine lining. As the fibroid grows it affects the uterine cavity, whereby it blocks the fallopian tubes which makes it difficult for sperm cells to travel to the uterus and therefore impact fertility. 

Read: Sponsored: A natural relief for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) sufferers

The risks factors

A woman's risk of developing fibroids is largely dependent on: 

Her age

Women between the ages of 30-40 are at a higher risk 

Her genes

Fibroids are hereditary and if your mom had fibroids you are most likely to develop them as well. 

Her diet 

The chances of developing fibroids increase greatly when you consume a diet of mostly red meat and little to no fruit, veg and dairy. 

The most common treatments

Treating fibroids may vary depending on the severity thereof. Let's have a look at the most common. 


Medication to relieve the painful symptoms are often prescribed but this does remove the fibroids. Medication is also the first step before surgery is recommended especially for women who experience heavy bleeding. 

Contraceptives/ Intrauterine devices (IUD):

This may be a long-term solution. Women with a heavy menstrual flow are often given hormonal medication to reduce the bleeding and regulate their cycle.

This however will not decrease the growth of fibroids. Another option would be to insert an IUD where small amounts of hormones are released into the uterine cavity, reducing the bleeding caused by the fibroids.


For women planning on getting pregnant, surgery is highly recommended since the growths can affect pregnancy. If you decide to have the fibroids removed you have two options.

1. Myomectomy

This procedure removes only the fibroids that are situated in the uterus. There are no changes done to the uterus and relieves the bleeding and other symptoms. This procedure would be the best option if you plan on having children in the future.

Also see“My uterine fibroids almost killed me — now I have a miracle baby”

2. Hysterectomy

This procedure removes your entire uterus which may include your cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries and various other abdominal structures. This type of surgery relieves all the symptoms of large uterine fibroids, however, you will not be able to have any children.

If you're concerned that you may fibroids, a visit to your preferred gynaecologist is highly recommended. 

Submitted to Parent24 by Fertility Solutions 


Share your stories and questions with us via email at chatback@parent24.com. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Don't miss a story!

For a weekly wrap of our latest parenting news and advice sign up to our free Friday Parent24 newsletter.

Follow us, and chat, on Facebook and Twitter.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 2480 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
52% - 12639 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
34% - 8169 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 810 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.