Everything you need to know about fibroids

doctor examining a woman
doctor examining a woman

 

Fibroids are tumors (abnormal growth) that grow in or on a woman’s uterus. This occurs when a single muscle cell in the wall of the uterus multiplies and grows to form a non-cancerous mass. Uterine fibroids are also called Myoma.

Causes of Fibroids

The exact cause of uterine fibroids is unclear, but there is evidence that it may be a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. Fibroids are found in approximately 20% of women who are in their reproductive age because the growth is fueled by female hormones like estrogen. When estrogen levels drop in menopause, fibroids begin to shrink.

Fibroids and Infertility

Fibroids are very common in African-American women. Also, overweight and obese women are at a higher risk of developing fibroid compared to women with normal weight. However, the size and location of fibroids determines the impact it will have on fertility. There are three major locations for fibroid which are:

Subserosal – on the outside surface of the uterus

Intramural – within the wall/muscle of the uterus

Submucous – protruding into the uterine cavity

Most women with fibroids may conceive without difficulties, but, fibroids that are found inside the uterine cavity (submucosal), very large fibroids within the wall of the uterus (intramural), can be a threat to fertility.

Fibroids may hinder fertility in women by:

  • Blocking the fallopian tubes, where fertilization occurs.
  • Changing the shape of the cervix which may affect the quantity of sperm entering the uterus.
  • Preventing blood flow into the uterus which can reduce the chances of an embryo sticking to the uterus (implantation)
  • Leading to uterine contractions and miscarriage.

Symptoms of Fibroids

Many women with fibroids may not experience symptoms, those that do, may experience the following:

  • Abdominal /Pelvic pain
  • Abdominal mass/ Distension (especially if fibroids are large)
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Increased menstrual cramping/ pain
  • Menstruation that lasts longer than usual
  • Painful sex
  • Increased urination
  • Repeated miscarriages

Treatment for Fibroids

Before treatment, several tests will be carried out to confirm that the patient has fibroids. These tests shows the doctor a picture of the inside of woman’s uterus without surgery. Afterwards, the doctor will develop a treatment plan based on her age, the size of fibroids and overall health. Treatments can vary from medication to surgery, depending on the approach that best suits her condition.

Medications

Medications for uterine fibroids treats symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pains. They may help shrink fibroids but not eliminate them completely. Some of these medications are:

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists- which blocks the production of estrogen and progesterone, thereby putting the patient in a temporary post-menopausal state.

Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) – which relieves heavy bleeding caused by fibroids

Tranexamic acid (Lysteda) – which eases heavy menstrual periods

Surgery

Myomectomy- This process removes fibroids and may improve chances of conceiving if the fibroid had been a threat to fertility.  Myomectomy is achieved by open surgery or Endoscopic surgery (minimal access / pin hole). Women with fertility concerns are advised to do endoscopic surgery, such as Laparoscopic or Hysteroscopy myomectomy, with the advantage of early recovery and discharge, reduced risk of infection, no scar, reduced blood loss and need for transfusion

Hysterectomy or uterus removal is only recommended for women who, having completed their families, have no future pregnancy plans. This process prevents regrowth of fibroids and improves quality of life for many women.

If a woman has no symptoms and the fibroids are not affecting her day-to-day life, she may receive no treatment at all. However, treatments and surgery are required if symptoms of fibroids are very severe and affects pregnancy. Talk to a fertility expert or gynecologist about the best way to treat your fibroids.

 

For more information and assistance,please talk to Dr.Nordi on http://www.drnordi.com

08077709636 and 08077709637

 

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