What You Should Know About Uterine Fibroids

What You Should Know About Uterine Fibroids

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Uterine Fibroids (leiomyomas) are basic noncancerous (benign) tumours that happen inside the muscle walls of the uterus (womb). Uterine fibroid tumours can be tiny and asymptomatic, or they can cause excruciating torment and grow larger than a grapefruit.

There are four types of uterine fibroids:

Subserosal Fibroids, develop under the outside uterine covering.
Intramural Fibroids, develop within the uterine wall.
Submucosal Fibroids, develop under the uterus lining.
Pedunculated Fibroids, develop on a “stalk” or stem-like structure attached to the inside or the outside of the uterus.

Fibroids may grow as a single nodule or in clusters. They may range in size from 1 mm to more than 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter. Fibroids in the uterus are a common cause of heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain and pressure in women. Also, fibroids can dramatically increase in size during pregnancy.

What are the Symptoms?

Some women with uterine fibroids experience no symptoms at all. Symptoms may include excessive and prolonged menstrual bleeding, pain, abdominal mass effect, frequent urination or urgency or constipation and many others.

When there are symptoms, they vary depending on the location and size of the fibroid tumours. Ladies few times underestimate the effect of their side effects because they have become accustomed to the excessive bleeding, pain and the pressure that fibroids can cause. Also, for some reason African-American ladies develop symptoms quicker and with greater severity than other ladies.

What does one Do with them?

Uterine fibroids often do not require treatment, but when they are problematic, they may be treated surgically, non-surgically, with medication or with alternative treatments. The very heavy menstrual bleeding, clotting and pelvic pain, that fibroids sometimes cause lead many women to seek treatment.

What about treatment?

There are several different types of treatments:

Hormonal: Uterine fibroid tumours require oestrogen and progesterone to grow, and without these hormones, fibroid tumours usually shrink in size. Hormonal treatments (such as birth control pills) may help control excessive menstrual bleeding caused by fibroids in some patients.

Non-surgical: Uterine Fibroid Embolization, UFE – Known medically as uterine artery embolization, approaches the treatment of fibroids by blocking the arteries that supply blood to them causing them to shrink or disappear.

Uterine fibroid embolization is not surgery, but it’s done at a hospital. This uterine fibroids treatment procedure usually takes between 1 and 3 hours, depending on how long it takes to position the catheter and how easily the catheter can be positioned in the arteries to the uterus.

Although uterine artery embolization has been in use for two decades to treat bleeding after childbirth, it wasn’t until early 1997 that the technique was introduced as a potential treatment for uterine fibroids.

Follow-up studies have shown that almost 90 % of ladies who have their fibroids treated by uterine fibroid embolization experience either significant or finish resolution of their fibroid-related effects.

Surgical: Surgery for uterine fibroids involves either removing the fibroids (myomectomy) or the entire womb (hysterectomy). Surgery has risks, including bleeding and infection. Approximately one-third of the more than half-million hysterectomies performed in the US every year are due to fibroids. Most of the women having these operations are said to be unaware of the non-surgical options.

Alternative treatment: Alternative treatments for uterine fibroid tumours also abound. Naturopaths, homoeopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and other alternative health care providers have treatments to offer as well. While some of these are not as well supported by scientific studies that prove effectiveness, the treatments are usually safer and provide a less invasive alternative than surgery.

Remember that some medical treatments for uterine fibroid tumours can affect your fertility. So it is important to consider alternative uterine fibroid treatments.

Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.