Fibroids are growths on or inside the womb. Sometimes, these growths get very big and cause a lot of pain in the abdomen and heavy periods. In other cases, they don’t cause any symptoms or signs at all. 

Most of the time, the growths are harmless, or not cancerous. No one knows what causes fibroids.

They are also known as leiomyomas myomas uterine myomas fibromas

Its been noted that up to 80% of women get to have it by age 50. But most women don’t have any signs of fibroids, so they may never know they have them.

Types

This depends on where it is on or in her uterus.

Intramural

This is the most common type. The muscle wall of the uterus is where these types show up. When they are inside your uterus, they can grow and make your womb bigger.

Subserosal

This grows on the outer layer of uterus. They may get big enough to make one side of the womb look bigger.

Others are:

Submucosal and Pedunculated

Causes

It’s not clear why they form, but there are a number of things that could cause them, thus –

  • Hormones

Hormones like estrogen and progesterone are made by the ovaries. They cause the lining of the uterus to grow back with each period and may speed up the growth.

  • Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, your body makes more estrogen and progesterone. During pregnancy, they could grow faster especially in the first 3 months; it however, shrinks after delivery.

  • Heredity

It can sometimes run in families. If your mother, sister, or grandmother had this condition in the past, you may get it too.

Fibroids
Fibroids

Risk Factors

If a woman has one or more of the following risk factors, she is more likely to develop it:

  • History of fibroids in close family member
  • Being 30 years and above
  • Black race
  • Over weight or obesity.

Symptoms 

  • How you feel will depend on how 
  • many tumors you have, 
  • where they are, and 
  • how big they are. 

For example, submucosal type can cause heavy periods and make it hard to get pregnant.

If your tumor is very small or you are going through menopause, you may not have any symptoms. During and after menopause, fibroid tumors may shrink. This is because estrogen and progesterone levels drop during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that make fibroids grow.

The commonest symptoms include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding that comes with blood clots 
  • Bleeding after menses is done
  • Pain in the lower back or pelvis
  • More menstrual pain
  • Prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Increased abdominal size


Diagnosis

 Ultrasound

An ultrasound shows pictures of your uterus on a screen made from high-frequency sound waves. This will let your doctor see what’s inside and if there are any fibroids.

Pelvic MRI

This detailed imaging test makes pictures of your uterus, ovaries, and other organs in your pelvis.

Treatment

Your doctor will make a treatment plan for you based on how old you are, how big your fibroids are, and how healthy you are overall. You might get more than one treatment.

  • Medication: To get rid of fibroids, you may be given medicine to control your hormone levels.
    • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, like leuprolide (Lupron), will lower your levels of estrogen and progesterone. This will stop periods and shrink them in the long run.
    • They can also be shrunk by drugs that block GnRH. They work by stopping your body from making follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
  • Other options that can help stop bleeding and pain, but won’t shrink or get rid of them, are:
  • Intrauterine device (IUD) that releases the hormone progestin over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) birth control pills

Surgery

  • Myomectomy: Surgery can be done to remove very large or many growths. It’s called a “myomectomy.” A large cut is made in the abdomen to reach the uterus and remove them during an abdominal myomectomy. 
  • Laparoscopy: The surgery can also be done laparoscopically, which means that a few small cuts are made and a camera and surgical tools are put in. 
  • It is important to bear in mind that after surgery, fibroid growths could grow back
  • Hysterectomy: Your doctor may do a hysterectomy if your condition gets worse or if none of the other treatments work. But this means that you will never be able to have children.

Newer Noninvasive Treatment Methods:

  • Forced ultrasound surgery (FUS) is a newer type of surgery that is completely noninvasive (FUS). You lie down in a special MRI machine that lets the doctors see what’s going on inside your uterus. Sound waves with a lot of energy and a high frequency are sent at the fibroids to ablate, or destroy, them.
  • Myolysis procedures, like Acessa, use heat sources like an electric current or laser to shrink them
  • Cryomyolysis, on the other hand, freezes the fibroids. 
  • Endometrial ablation involves putting a special tool into your uterus and using heat, electricity, hot water, or very cold to kill the lining of your uterus.
  • Uterine artery embolization is another option that doesn’t involve surgery. Small particles are injected into the uterus to cut off the blood supply to the fibroids.

Future Outlook

How you’ll do will depend on how big and where your fibroids are. If a fibroid is small or doesn’t cause any symptoms, it may not need to be treated.

If you are pregnant and have fibroids, or if you become pregnant and have fibroids, your doctor will carefully watch your condition. Most of the time, fibroids don’t make pregnancy difficult. If you have them and want to get pregnant, you should talk to your doctor.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/women/uterine-fibroids/what-if-i-have-uterine-fibroids-while-pregnant

https://www.healthline.com/health/uterine-fibroids#outlook