Fibroids are benign growths that can sprout in your uterine walls. It is possible to have more than one fibroid manifesting at a variety of sizes in the walls of your uterus (womb). These non-cancerous growths can develop inside and outside your womb.
A high percentage of the women population has been diagnosed withFibroid; even though we can’t give an exact figure of their number. It is, however, opinionated that out of every 10 women, 8 have fibroids. Research as shown that the older a woman becomes, the higher her chances of developing fibroids. This is solely because the development has been linked to your hormonal values, which only develops between the periods of puberty and menopause.
TYPES OF FIBROIDS BASED ON LOCATION
The types of fibroids are named according to the part of the womb they develop. The following are the types of fibroids:
- SUBSEROUS FIBROIDS: This type of non-cancerous fibroids grows from the external wall of your uterus into the pelvis.
- SUBMUCOUS FIBROIDS: This grows from the internal walls of your uterus into the body of the womb.
- INTRAMURAL FIBROIDS: This form of fibroids grows in the muscular layer of your womb.
NB: The subserous and submucous fibroids are capable of growing on a stalk; we refer to them as pedunculated fibroids.
CAUSES OF FIBROIDS
- Age: The risks for fibroids increase as you get closer to menopause.
- Early-onset of puberty
- African-Caribbean descent
- If you do not have children
CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF FIBROIDS
Most often, fibroids develop asymptomatically, only to manifest symptoms when it has become large. The bigger they get, the intense the symptoms they manifest. The clinical manifestations of fibroids include the following:
- Heavy menstrual flow that can last for a longer time. (This could lead to anaemiawith its associated symptoms).
- Abdominal distention.
- Pain in your pelvis.
- Increased pressure in the pelvis.
HOW FIBROIDS ARE DIAGNOSED
Many times, fibroids are detected by your gynaecologist during a gynaecological examination for a different medical reason or through diagnostic investigations to rule out pregnancy.
Your gynaecologist will take your medical history to know the symptoms you are manifesting. Then a vaginal examination will be carried out on you. Your gynaecologist will perform a vaginal examination by inserting lubricated, gloved fingers into your vaginato feel the content of your cervix and womb. Concurrently, your lower abdomen would be pressed with the other hand.
The following are the tests that your gynaecologist might suggest:
- A blood test to rule out anaemia.
- Ultrasound Scan: This is to view inside your womb for its contents.
- Hysteroscopy: A tube-like telescope called a hysteroscope is used to look into your womb. A local or general anaesthetic could be used to minimise pain and discomfort.
- MRI Scan: A magnetic resonance imaging can be used to capture a full detailed scan of the fibroids in the uterus.
- Laparoscopy: This lets your gynaecologist to obtain biopsies from the uterus for laboratory testing,
TREATMENT REGIME FOR FIBROIDS
The treatment for fibroids is dependent on the type of fibroids, the location, the size and the quantity. Medications or surgery can be suggested.
- MEDICATIONS: Fibroids cannot be cured by medicines; they can only ease the symptoms you manifest. The following are the classes of the medicines used:
- NSAIDs: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) will help reduce your pain. A typical example is Ibuprofen.
- Tranexamic acid, levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (IUS) and Progesterone help to reduce bleeding.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues (GnRH analogues) can shrink your fibroids by lowering your oestrogen levels.
- SURGERY: The type of surgery will be dependent on whether you want to have a child.
- MYOMECTOMY: This is a surgical procedure to remove your fibroids while the uterus (womb) is still intact. There is a possible risk of bleeding associated with myomectomy.
- HYSTERECTOMY can be carried out to remove your womb. This will be the best option if you choose not to have a child again.
- ENDOMETRIAL ABLATION: This involves the removal of the lining of the womb to reduce, if not prevent heavy period.
COMPLICATIONS OF FIBROIDS
The complications of fibroids include the following:
- Anaemia: This occurs as a result of heavy bleeding of long duration.
- Severe pains
WHERE TO SEEK FOR SUPPORT AND ADVICE
Women’s Health Care provides professional support services and reliable information to those that are affected by fibroids. You can reach out to us or walk into our office at Harley Street, London to speak with a Gynaecologist. We will be glad to help!