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.
The risks factors
A woman's risk of developing fibroids is largely dependent on:
Women between the ages of 30-40 are at a higher risk
Fibroids are hereditary and if your mom had fibroids you are most likely to develop them as well.
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.
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.
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
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