Fibroids are a very common problem faced by women, with as many as one in every three women having faced the problem sometime in her lifetime. The most common age it is observed in women is from 30 to 50 years. Chances of fibroids are greater in women who are heavier. On the flip side, a woman who has had a child has lower risk of getting fibroids. In fact the more children she has, the lower is her risk.
What is it?
A fibroid is a benign tumor in or around the uterus. These tumors are made of muscles and fibrous tissues, and are otherwise referred to as uterine myomas or leiomyomas.
What are the symptoms?
There are several indicators of fibroids, but the problem is that many of these symptoms are also seen due to the presence of other conditions, which is why fibroids often go undetected for long. Pain in the lower abdomen or lower back, heavy bleeding during menstruation, feeling of discomfort or pain during periods or during sexual intercourse, and occasional constipation are the common symptoms of fibroids.
Types of fibroids
There are mainly three types of fibroids, depending on the location where they have developed. Intramural fibroids are seen in the muscle wall of the uterus, whereas submucosal fibroids are found in the muscle layer just below the inner lining of the uterus. The third category is subserosal fibroids, which are seen outside the uterine wall. Subserosal fibroids grow into the pelvis, whereas submucosal fibroids grow into the uterine cavity.
How it is diagnosed?
The symptoms of fibroids are not unique in any way, so they are either mistaken for some other ailment or simply ignored altogether. That is why asymptomatic fibroids often get diagnosed by chance. If the patient or the gynaecologist’s suspect fibroids, the most dependable test they have for correct diagnosis is the ultrasound scan. Either an abdominal or a transvaginal ultrasound scan is used by gynaecologist’s to diagnose fibroids. Additionally, some gynaecologist’s also use hysteroscopy, laparoscopy or even biopsy to confirm the presence of fibroids.
Usually fibroids are benign in nature, but depending on their size and location, they could cause some complications during pregnancy, or they could lead to infertility as well. Cases of premature labor or miscarriage have been reported for some women who suffered from fibroids, and if the fibroids are large and block the vagina, the baby might need to be delivered through caesarian section. Apart from pregnancy complications, fibroids might also cause infertility by preventing the correct attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine lining.
Usually no treatment is needed for asymptomatic fibroids. Fibroids usually reduce and shrink after menopause. But in case treatment is warranted, then there are several medications available. These medications could have side effects, so gynaecologist’s advice should be taken before taking any medicines.Also if fibroids are causing infertility then surgery may also be required in few cases.