Fibroids are non-cancerous growths consisting of muscle and fibrous tissue located inside the uterus and varying in size. Some Fibroids are just a few inches big, and others may take up the whole abdominal cavity.
Fibroids are quite common in people of reproductive age, affecting 85% of women. Most Fibroids usually go undetected and cause no symptoms, though Fibroids can cause a variety of symptoms including abnormal vaginal bleeding, abdominal and pelvic pain ….
Fibroids are named depending on their location:
- Subserous Fibroids: Grow in the muscle of uterus, expanding outside the uterus into the pelvic area
- Intramural Fibroids: Grow within the muscle of the uterus
- Submucosal Fibroids: Grow towards the inner wall and expand in the the endometrial cavity
Generally speaking, Fibroids, no matter their type, grow slowly. However, among many factors, high levels of Estrogen can make these Fibroids grow faster.
Typically, Fibroids are benign tumors. They could, although rarely become cancerous, with this only happening in between 1 in 500 and 1 in 2000 people.
As mentioned, most people with Uterine Fibroids experience no symptoms. However, 1 in 3 people with Fibroids experience symptoms, mostly related to the size and the location of the Fibroids.
These symptoms include:
- Heavy bleeding during periods with blood clots and cramps
- Abdominal or lower back pain
- Frequent need to urinate
- Deep pain during sex
- Infertility or difficulty conceiving
Any person of reproductive age can get Fibroids, from puberty on to menopause. Because their growth is related to the hormone Estrogen, Fibroids can potentially shrink away after the onset of Menopause.
To diagnose Fibroids, your doctor will ask for a medical history and a pelvic exam. Large Fibroids can be detected through vaginal or abdominal examinations.
Tests to detect Fibroids may include:
- Blood tests to detect anemia associated with heavy periods, a symptom of Fibroids
Treating your Fibroids will depend on the symptoms associated with this condition. It also depends on their size, location, and your future plans for fertility.
Most of the time, Fibroids can be left untouched and just monitored. You may be prescribed medication to treat symptoms of pain or heavy periods. Other times, Fibroids might need to be surgically removed. This is a shared decision that you can make with your doctor based on your evaluation.