Fibroids, Symptoms and Treatment



What are Fibroids?

Fibroids, also known as uterine fibroids or leiomyomas, are noncancerous benign, cyst like growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. They are composed of muscle and fibrous tissue and can vary in size from small, pea-sized growths to larger, round, or irregularly shaped masses that can be several inches in diameter.

Fibroids can occur in various locations within or on the uterus, including:

  1. Subserosal Fibroids: These fibroids grow on the outer surface of the uterus and may press against neighboring organs, causing pain and pressure symptoms.
  2. Intramural Fibroids: These fibroids develop within the muscular wall of the uterus and can cause the uterus to enlarge, leading to heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain.
  3. Submucosal Fibroids: These fibroids grow just underneath the inner lining of the uterine cavity and can result in heavy menstrual bleeding, as well as fertility issues.
  4. Pedunculated Fibroids: These are fibroids that are attached to the uterus by a stalk (peduncle). They can be found either inside or outside the uterus and may cause symptoms like pain or pressure, depending on their location.


Symptoms of Fibroids

Fibroids are relatively common, and many women may have them without experiencing any symptoms. However, when they do cause symptoms, common ones include:

  1. Heavy or Prolonged Menstrual Periods: Fibroids can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) or longer menstrual periods.
  2. Pelvic Pain and Pressure: Depending on their size and location, fibroids may cause discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area.
  3. Frequent Urination: Large fibroids can press against the bladder, leading to more frequent urination.
  4. Painful Intercourse: Fibroids, especially those located near the surface of the uterus, can cause pain during sexual intercourse.
  5. Backache or Leg Pains: Rarely, fibroids may press on nerves in the back and cause backache or leg pains.
  6. Infertility and Pregnancy Complications: Submucosal fibroids may interfere with fertility or lead to complications during pregnancy, such as a higher risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, or the need for a cesarean section.

Cause of Fibroids

The exact cause of fibroids is not fully understood, but they are thought to be influenced by genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. Risk factors for developing fibroids include a family history of the condition and being of African American descent, as this group tends to have a higher incidence and more severe symptoms.


Treatment of Fibroids

Treatment for fibroids depends on the size, location, and severity of symptoms. Options range from watchful waiting and lifestyle changes to medication and surgical interventions, such as myomectomy (removing the fibroids while preserving the uterus) or, in severe cases, hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). The choice of treatment should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider, taking into account the individual’s unique circumstances and preferences.

Fibroids is not a cancer