What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous abnormal growths of the uterus that often appear during reproductive age and don't show any kind of symptoms. Uterine fibroids also are known as leiomyomas, uterine myomas, fibromas, or myomas. Fibroids can range in size from small seedlings to masses that may distort or enlarge the uterus. There can be the presence of single or multiple fibroids.
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
The occurrence of symptoms may be based on the size, number, and location of tumors. Following are few of the signs and symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Prolonged menstrual periods
- Menstrual cramps
- Pressure and swelling on the lower abdomen
- Pelvic pain
- Difficulty in emptying the bladder
- Pain during intercourse
- Leg pains
What are the causes and risk factors of uterine fibroids?
The specific cause of uterine fibroids is not known. But, the following are few of the factors that may cause fibroids:
- Hormonal imbalance (estrogen and progesterone)
- Insulin-like growth factors
- Increased extracellular matrix
Risk factors include:
- Any women of reproductive age
- Early-onset of menstruation
- Vitamin-D deficiency
What tests can diagnose uterine fibroids?
Usually, uterine fibroids are diagnosed during routine pelvic examinations. While performing the pelvic exam, the doctor may find irregularities in the uterus. Then, he/she may suggest a few of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:
- Complete blood count
- Pelvic MRI
Who can treat uterine fibroids?
Gynecologists and Obstetricians can treat uterine fibroids. Gynecologists can treat fibroids through medications or surgical procedures. Depending on the symptoms the treatment plan will be provided.
Can uterine fibroids affect pregnancy?
Usually, fibroids don't interfere with the pregnancy. However, it is possible that submucous fibroids may cause infertility or miscarriage. They may risk some of the complications like fetal growth restriction, placental abruption, and preterm delivery.
What are the surgical procedures used to treat uterine fibroids?
Minimally invasive procedures:
- Uterine artery embolization
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Laparoscopic myomectomy
- Hysteroscopic myomectomy
- Endometrial ablation
- Abdominal myomectomy