Fibroids: Symptoms, and Treatment

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What are fibroids?


Fibroids are the most commonly seen tumors of the female reproductive system. Fibroids, also known as uterine myomas, leiomyomas, or fibromas, are composed of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develop in the uterus.

Fibroids are very common among women of reproductive or childbearing age. Among 20 to 50 percent women of childbearing age have fibroids, although not all of them are diagnosed.
99 percent of the cases are non-cancerous. The sizes of these tumors may vary from the size of a pea to the size of a small grapefruit or watermelon.


How do fibroids occur?


Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow on the uterus wall. Although no one knows for sure what causes fibroids, researchers are of the opinion that more than one factor could play a role. These factors could be:

  • Hormonal (affected by estrogen and progesterone levels, since fibroids are known to be connected to hormones)
  • Family history

Based on the location of a fibroid in the womb, there are different types of fibroids:

  • Intramural: or uterine fibroids are embedded in the muscular wall of the womb and are the most common type of fibroids.
  • Subserosal fibroids: which extend beyond the wall of the womb and grow within the surrounding outer uterine tissue layer. These can become quite large.
  • Submucosal fibroids: which can push their way into the cavity of the womb and is usually found in the muscle beneath the inner lining of the wall.
  • Cervical fibroids: which grow in the neck of the womb, known as the cervix.


Who is prone to fibroids?


Some women are prone to fibroids than others. They include:

  • Women with a family history of fibroids
  • Women who suffer from obesity
  • Women of childbearing years since the ovaries naturally produce estrogen and studies show that fibroids are naturally dependant on estrogen. Therefore, women are at a risk of fibroids till they reach menopause.
  • Research shows that women who eat a vegetarian diet are less likely to develop fibroids than women whose diets include meat.


What are the causes of fibroids?


The exact cause of fibroids is not known. Several factors can be responsible such as:

  • Estrogen and progesterone which are the hormones produced by the ovaries during a woman’s childbearing years may stimulate the growth of fibroids.
  • A person who has a family history of fibroids can be prone to it
  • Since the production of estrogen and progesterone increases during pregnancy, a pregnant woman is more prone to fibroids


What are the symptoms of fibroids? How is fibroids diagnosed?


Symptoms of fibroids may include:

  • heavy bleeding between or during periods
  • pain in the pelvis and/or the lower back
  • increased menstrual cramping
  • increased urination
  • swelling or enlargement of the abdomen
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • menstruation that lasts longer than usual
  • a feeling of pressure or fullness in your lower abdomen

Diagnosis

 

If you see any symptoms of fibroids you need to consult an OB-GYN or obstetrician-gynecologist, who is a doctor who specializes in women's health.  The doctor will perform a pelvic examination along with an abdominal examination.  If it is a case of fibroids the physician will feel a firm, irregular pelvic mass.

The doctor will also ask about your complete medical history and suggest some diagnostic procedures such as:

  • X-ray.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound (also called ultrasonography).
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Hysterosalpingography which is an X-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes
  • Hysteroscopy which is a visual examination of the canal of the cervix and the interior of the uterus
  • Endometrial biopsy which is a procedure in which a sample of tissue is obtained through a tube which is inserted into the uterus.
  • Blood test


What are the complications of fibroids?


The complications of fibroids include:

  • abdominal pain during pregnancy
  • risk of premature labour
  • a cesarean section if the fibroid blocks the vagina
  • miscarriage
  • infertility


What is the treatment for fibroids?


Medical Treatment for Fibroids

Since most fibroids shrink by themselves as a woman approaches her menopause many doctors adopt a watch and wait policy. However, if the fibroids are too large and are causing severe symptoms, the doctor may prescribe treatments such as prescribing anti-hormonal agents, painkillers or surgical approaches such as myomectomy, hysterectomy, or uterine artery embolization.


Exercise

Women with excess fat, especially abdominal fat, are more likely to overproduce estrogen. Therefore, exercising to reduce fat can help to reduce the risk of fibroids, though it does not guarantee that existing fibroids will reduce in size. Please consult your doctor if you are diagnosed with fibroids and want to schedule your own exercise regimen. Based on your medical history the doctor can recommend what forms of exercises will suit you the most.

Exercises such as swimming, walking, water aerobics are considered to be good to reduce unhealthy estrogen production. Yoga is also extremely beneficial.

Would you like to consult a doctor for Fibroids ?

Patient Experiences

Shital Soni
Excellent Treatment For Cysts, Fibroids and Allergy
I thanks Dr. Sunita Jonwal form bottom my heart for relieving my suffering of many years. I got excellent results by Nap Therapy. My Painful periods, Cysts, fibroids, Allergy, Acidity, Gas, Sinus, Nasal blocks are cured more than 90%. NAP Therapy, Therapist, Staff are very good & caring. Thanks....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Sunita Jonwal
Dr Jonwal's Niramay Ayush Panchkarm Health Institute & Research Centre
Rani shinde
Uterine Fibroids
After suffering for number of years due to uterine fibroids,I was referred to Dr Mangala Wani by one of my friend.I was very nervous and Dr Mangala Wani very calm and relaxing manner immediately put me at ease.She thoughouly explained the options open to me and it soon became very clear that my only long term solution was to have hysterectomy.She carried the hysterectomy last year.Again her pleasant disposition and clear explanations helped me at this traumatic time.She visited me in hospital everyday and put my mind at rest.Very next day I was walking and eating the food.I am so pleased I had this operation.I can't praise enough Dr Mangala Wani.and I would recommend her without hesitation....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Mangala Wani
Hirkani Clinic

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
I had done myomectomy for removal of fibroids when I start my sexual life after how many months I can start
Dr. Yuvraj Arora Monga
Sexologist, Delhi
Dear Mam,
It depends, whether the myomectomy is done major or minor with either surgery or laser, it takes 3-6 months to get back to normal. Then after that you can start your sexual life normally.

Thank you

Verified User
I have subserosal fibroid which had a degeneration last year and it was of 5cm but this month i again did usg after one year and its now of 7cm and it has cystic degeneration is it dangerous?
Dr. Reena Kawatra
Gynecologist, Gurgaon
Start with Medications for this ,it should reduce in size or resolve if you show a good response.
Ask health queries and get free answers from doctors in 24 hrs

Did you know?

Fibroid cases in India

One out of four women suffers from fibroids in India.

Uterine fibroids

One in five women suffers from uterine fibroids - the growth of non-cancerous tumour in the womb.

Women of reproductive age suffer the most

20 to 50 percent of women of reproductive age have fibroids, although not all are diagnosed.

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Home Remedies

Take Foods Rich in Fiber

Fiber helps the body to get rid of excess estrogens. Therefore take a lot of fruits and green leafy vegetables which are rich in fiber.

Avoid anti-nutrients

Avoid saturated fats, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and junk foods, all of which may contribute to estrogen dominance which is linked with fibroids. These foods can also impact fertility negatively.

Drink Green Tea

Studies indicate that green tea contains a compound called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which inhibits the growth of fibroid cells, eventually increasing their death rate. Drink atleast two to three cups of green tea everyday.

Include Milk and Milk Products in Your Diet

Researchers believe that the calcium in dairy may help reduce cell proliferation. Therefore drink at least one glass of milk everyday.

Take Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be helpful in reducing fibroid symptoms because it helps remove toxins from the body and promotes fat loss. Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it everyday on empty stomach or one hour before your meals. You can gradually increase the intake to two tablespoons in one glass of water everyday.
Book an appointment with a Gynecologist