Uterine fibroids are normally benign tumors in the uterus. These solid tumors consist of fibrous tissue and often occur in the form of multiple tumor masses. In most cases, fibroids grow slowly and may cause no symptoms.
The size of fibroids varies greatly among women. Some of them are so tiny that the doctor may need a microscope to see them. However, some women may have one large uterine fibroid which has the size of a grapefruit.
Types of fibroids
There are several types of fibroids:
- Subserous fibroids usually grow on the outer wall of the uterus and usually don’t cause symptoms until they become too large.
- Pedunculated fibroids develop from subserous fibroids when they grow as a peduncle (stem). When these fibroids grow, they can twist and cause painful sensations.
- Submucous fibroids are found below the uterine mucosa and can cause menstrual irregularities and pain when they grow and move in the pelvis.
- Interligamentous fibroids grow between the ligaments that support the uterus in the abdominal area. It is very difficult to remove these fibroids because it may interfere with other organs or the blood supply.
- Intramural fibroids are round tumors that usually grow on the uterus wall. They can lead to a significant enlargement of the uterus.
- Parasitic fibroids are the most uncommon form of fibrosis that occurs when the fibroids attach to other organs.
If you are suffering from uterine fibroids, consider your options before deciding which fibroids treatment method you want to try. There are currently many different kinds of treatments and science is constantly developing new methods.
If your fibroids cause painful sensations and other symptoms, surgical treatment may be recommended. But before agreeing to a hysterectomy, read about other surgical treatment options. Symptoms that warrant surgery include:
- Extremely heavy blood flow during menstruation that causes anemia
- Unbearable pain
- Discomfort due to pressure
- Tumors can also cause additional problems
You may consider myomectomy as an option in the case of fibroids. Myomectomy is the surgical procedure during which each tumor is removing without damaging the uterus. It preserves the woman’s ability to get pregnant. But the fact is that fibroids can grow back and repeated myomectomies can lead to other problems such as adhesion of the uterine walls due to scarring.
Hysterectomy is a radical treatment method, but many women have to face it because fibroids tend to grow back. A hysterectomy is the most effective treatment when:
- A woman is suffering from severe symptoms and she doesn’t plan to conceive anymore
- A woman has extremely large fibroids
- A woman has heavy abnormal bleeding
- Uterine fibroids cause problems with other organs (for example, the bladder or intestines)
Uterine artery embolization
Women can also consider uterine artery embolization. This procedure doesn’t require surgery and is able to leave the uterus intact. During uterine artery embolization, polyvinyl particles are set in the uterine artery before the nexus of the vessels spreads to the uterine tissue. These particles enter the vessels and clog them. The uterine fibroids stop receiving the constant blood supply they need and began to shrink over time. Such symptoms as pelvic pain and severe bleeding significantly decrease almost immediately.
Science is creating and evaluating new treatment options for fibroids such as the use of Lupron. This method may be useful for women who want to conceive or for women approaching menopause when uterine fibroids can decrease naturally. If the woman uses Lupron constantly, her fibroids may significantly reduce. But this method has one drawback, fibroids grow back quickly after stopping treatment.