Most of the women develop uterine fibroids at some stage in their life. Many cases of the uterine fibroid do not require any treatment modalities. Treatment is required when the uterine fibroid starts affecting life. Large uterine fibroid is a relative term, relative to the other fibroids present, as well as the location of fibroids.
What Is Considered A Large Uterine Fibroid?
Uterine fibroids are the benign growth occurring in the muscular tissue of the uterus. Women have a pear-shaped uterus with a length of approximately 7.6 cm4. The patient has no symptoms due to a small fibroid. As the fibroid grows in size, the patient began to have symptoms such as pain and swelling. On the basis of the size of the fibroids, these are classified into small, medium and large. The size of the fibroid may be small and large depending upon the relative area where the fibroid is located. For instance, if a fibroid is located on the wall of the uterus, then it is a small fibroid as compared to another condition if the same fibroid is located inside the uterine cavity.
Various studies have indicated different sizes of the large uterine fibroid. Some states that the fibroid greater than 3-4 cm is large while according to other research papers, large uterine fibroid has the size greater than 5 cm. Some even increase the criteria of large uterine fibroids to greater than 6 cm5. The different criteria in different research papers may probably be due to different locations of fibroids and may be relative to the size of other simultaneously existing fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are also known as myomas or leiomyomas. In this condition, there is a benign tumor growth in the muscular tissue of the uterus. A cell of the muscle tissue goes into the abnormal growth and divides continuously resulting in a tumor mass. The condition is commonly found in the women with age greater than 30, while it is quite rare in women below the age of 18 years1. Further, the uterine fibroids shrink after menopause. The cause of uterine fibroids is the presence of high level of progesterone and estrogen which are responsible for the growth and development of these fibroids. On the basis of the location of fibroids in the uterus, they are divided into following types2 :
Intramural Fibroids. These are the most common type of fibroids present in the uterus. These can easily be removed. These are located on the wall of the uterus. The wall of the uterus is known as myometrium.
Sub-Serosal Fibroids. As these are located on the outer wall of the uterus, they have large space to grow. Thus, these fibroids can grow large. One of the characteristics of these fibroids is the formation of pedunculated fibroid. It is a type of fibroid which is in the form of a stalk with a mass attached to it.
Sub-Mucosal Fibroid. These types of fibroids grow in the endometrium of the uterus, especially in the muscular tissue. These fibroids also have the ability to form pedunculated fibroids.
Intracavity Fibroids. These types of fibroids are developed in the cavity of the uterus. These fibroids are known to cause severe symptoms and may interfere in pregnancy.
Cervical Fibroids. These fibroids are formed in the cervix. Cervix is the neck of the uterus.
Many cases of uterine fibroids are diagnosed accidentally when the patient visits the hospital for the diagnosis of other condition. The symptoms experienced by the patient of uterine fibroids include Urinary retention, increased urinary frequency and urgency, pelvic pressure, abdominal pain, low back pain, dyspareunia, constipation, abnormal uterine bleeding, and bowel dysfunction3.
Different studies consider different size in the criteria of large uterine fibroid. Fibroid greater than 4-5cm can be termed as large uterine fibroid as it is large enough in relation to the length of the uterus which is 7.6 cm.