Non-cancerous lumps that develop on the uterus are known as fibroids. Technically termed leiomyomas, they are actually caused by an abnormal muscle growth of the uterine wall. It is common with about approximately 50-70% women of child bearing age having it. Fortunately in most cases, they are small and do not cause problems. However, it may cause problems if they are big or located at certain places.
What are the problems caused by fibroids ?
Fibroids could be as small as seedlings that are invisible or maybe large enough to distort and enlarge the uterus. They may be present as a single one or maybe present in multiples on different layers of the uterus. In most cases, 3 out of 4 patients with fibroids do not show any symptoms. In others the problems may vary and include the ones discussed below. However, it should be kept in mind that a person may not have all of them but just one or two listed below.
- Heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles
- Painful periods
- Urinary and bowel disturbances
- Lower abdominal pain
What are the risk factors for developing a fibroid ?
Several factors may increase your chances of getting a fibroid though there is no one specific cause for the same. Regular consumption of red meat or poor dietary habits may increase your chances of getting a fibroid. On the other hand consumption of rich leafy vegetables and fruits protect your boy against fibroids.
What are diagnostic options available for fibroids ?
The presence of fibroids can be suggested by a qualified gynecologist based on your complaints and physical examination findings. Fibroids can be diagnosed with the help of Ultrasonography. To get a clear outline of the type and number of fibroids a 3D- ultrasonography may be done. In case of distorted anatomy, to get a clear image of the uterus, an MRI scan may be required. In order to assess how much the fibroid has affected the general conditions of the body a basic blood investigation is done.
Management options available for fibroid
Majority of fibroids are do not show symptoms nor do they cause any problem. As such they are safely observed without the need of any medical interventions. In case, they are large, regular ultrasound scans are done in order to make sure that it is not increasing in size. In case of fibroids that show symptoms such as heavy and painful menses, urinary and bowel disturbances, lower abdominal pain, abortions, infertility etc in young patients, it can be treated with hormonal medications and anti-inflammatory drugs. Laparoscopic Surgery is required only if the symptoms are not controlled with medications and hormones.
In laparoscopic surgery, a small pen shaped camera is passed though a small key hole to visualize the fibroid. Through another small key hole special instruments are passed that help remove the fibroid under the guidance of the camera. This is a safe alternative to open surgery in removing most fibroids. Compared to open surgery, it allows speedy recovery and quicker healing with minimal postoperative pain. For fibroids within the uterine cavity, a technique called hysteroscopic resection is used in which the hysteroscope (camera) and other instruments are passed through the vagina or through a specialized device .