Uterine Fibroids are non cancerous growths that can occur in the uterus. These growths are usually found in the muscle lining of the uterus. These are also called as leiomyomas or myomas. The size, shape and location of the fibroids can vary from one woman to another. They can be found in the outer wall of the uterus, inside the uterus or attached to it like a stem. A woman can have just one fibroid or many of various sizes. It can remain small and suddenly grow rapidly over the years.
Paras Bliss has a well equipped gynecology and laparscopic gynecology department to aid the detection and the treatment of the uterine fibroids. Over the years the centres have been instrumental in performing various surgeries for infertility management and pain management caused due to uterine fibroids. Numerous women have been treated medically also.
Who can develop fibroids?
Fibroids are most commonly found in women that are in 30-40 yrs of age, however they can occur at any age. It is also common in women who develop hormonal issues such as Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, etc. It is important that you consult a specialist if you have been detected with the same.
What are the signs and symptoms associated with fibroids?
Uterine fibroids can have multi faceted symptoms. Some of the common ones are listed below:
Change in the menstruation cycle
Longer, more frequent and heavy periods
Cramps and pain during menstruation
Vaginal bleeding at times
Anemia ( due to the blood loss)
Pain in the lower back – ranging from dull, mild to severe
Difficulty during urination
Constipation, rectal pain or difficulty in the bowel movements
Enlarged uterus and abdomen
They may cause a number of symptoms and in many cases may cause no symptoms at all. Many a times the uterine fibroids are detected during a routine pelvic examination/ultrasound.
What complications can occur with uterine fibroids?
The uterine fibroids that are attached to the uterus like a stem like structure may twist and cause pain, fever or nausea. They can also grow rapidly and start breaking off, causing pain and discomfort. Rarely, they are associated with cancer. A large uterine fibroid can cause swelling with the abdomen that can make the ultrasound examination also difficult.
Uterine fibroids can cause infertility. Couples that are trying to conceive should definitely get a check up done before the process. When uterine fibroids are the cause, many women are able to conceive post medical or minor surgical management.
How are the uterine fibroids diagnosed?
The first signs of the uterine fibroids can be detected through a routine pelvic examination check. The other tests that can detect the same are:
Ultrasonography: It uses sound waves to create an image of the pelvic area
Hysteroscopy: It uses a slender device to see the insides of the uterus. It is inserted through the vagina and the cervix. This helps the doctor to see the uterine cavity of the patient.
Hysterosalpingography: It is a specialised X ray test that can detect abnormal changes in the size and shape of the uterus and the fallopian tubes.
Sonohysterography: it is fluid based test in which a fluid is filled in the uterus and through sonography the insides of the uterus are imaged. The fluid provides a clear image of the uterine lining.
Laparoscopy: In this through a slender device – laparoscope- the doctor can see the insides of the abdomen. It is inserted through a small cut just below or through the navel. The doctor can see the fibroids on the outside of the uterus through this approach.
When is treatment for uterine fibroids needed?
If your uterine fibroids don’t cause any symptoms then you can ignore the treatment. Also if the uterine fibroids are small and in women that are heading towards menopause, the treatment can be avoided. However if you are experiencing certain signs and symptoms that are limiting, such as mentioned below, you should consult a gynaecologist at the earliest:
Painful menstruation with heavy bleeding
Altered menstrual cycle – with longer periods
Constipation and bowel issues
What medication can be used to treat uterine fibroids?
Drug therapy is an excellent option for uterine fibroids treatment and management. They may help in regulating the pain and the menstrual cycles. However they may not prevent the growth of the uterine fibroids. Surgery may often be recommended by the doctors. The various options are:
Use of birth control pills or other hormone regulating pills that can manage the heavy bleeding and the painful periods
GnRh agents that can control the menstrual cycles and can make the uterine fibroids shrink. They are also given before surgery to reduce the chances if bleeding.
Use of intra uterine device that don’t distort the insides of the uterus and can reduce heavy bleeding.
What are the types of surgeries that can be recommended to treat uterine fibroids?
Myomectomy is the surgical removal of the uterine fibroids, without the removal of the uterus. This helps the women to retain her fertility and provides her the option to bear children in the future. Fibroids usually don’t growth post surgery but new fibroids may develop. If this is the case, additional surgery may be needed, depending on the symptoms.
Hysterectomy is a surgery in which the complete removal of the uterus is done. This is done when the other procedures to reduce the size of the fibroids or to treat the uterine fibroids have been futile. Post this procedure, the woman is not able to bear children/ get pregnant.