Could One Have Fibroids And Not Know?

Brief Facts About Fibroids:

  • Also termed as leiomyoma or myoma, Fibroids are benign muscular tumors which grow in the uterine wall.
  • Fibroids either grow as a single tumor or there can be many of them in the uterus.
  • Doctors classify fibroids in 3 main groups based on their location.
  • Fibroids which grow in the uterine cavity are called Sub-Mucosal Fibroids.
  • Fibroids which develop within the wall of the uterus are known as Intramural Fibroids.
  • Fibroids which grow outside the uterus are termed as Subserosal fibroids.
  • Some fibroids grow on stems which emerge from the surface, or in the cavity of the uterus. These mushroom-like growths are called Pedunculated Fibroids.
  • A fibroid can be as small in size as an apple seed, or as big as a grapefruit, and even larger in unusual cases.

Nearly 20 to 80% of all women develop fibroids by the time they turn 50. But could one have fibroids and not know? The answer is yes, it is possible. Go through the following article to know how.

Could One Have Fibroids And Not Know?

Symptoms of Fibroids: How to Know If You Have Fibroids?

Fibroids are asymptomatic for most women and this is why many women can have fibroids and not know about them. However, ones who do experience symptoms often find fibroids difficult to live with. Some symptoms of fibroids are heavy bleeding, painful periods, enlargement of the lower abdomen, lower back pain, painful intercourse, frequent urination, feeling of fullness in the pelvic area, reproductive problems like infertility, and complications during pregnancy and labour.

Diagnosis of Fibroids: How to Know For Sure You Have Fibroids?

The doctor can detect fibroids during a regular pelvic exam. They can physically examine the patient and feel the fibroids as a lump on the uterus. Diagnosis of fibroids can also be confirmed with imaging tests like ultrasound, MRI, X-rays, CT scan or HSG as well. At times, surgery like laparoscopy or hysteroscopy may also be needed to further confirm a fibroid diagnosis.

What are the Causes of Fibroids?

The cause of fibroids is still not clear. Hormones like estrogen and progesterone are believed to play an important role in triggering the formation of fibroids. Fibroids grow rapidly during pregnancy, when hormone levels are high, and shrink when anti-hormone medication is used. These tumors also stop growing or shrink when a woman reaches menopause. Other factors which increase a woman’s risk of developing fibroids are age, ethnic origin, eating habits, family history of fibroids, and obesity.

What is the Treatment for Fibroids?

Most women with fibroids never have any symptoms and this is the reason how and why many women can have fibroids and may not be aware of this fact. The treatment for uterine fibroids mainly depends on the symptoms. Other factors like the size and location of the fibroids, age of the women, and whether the patient wants to get pregnant if future, also need to be considered when choosing the treatment.

Medications for Treating Fibroids: Fibroids which cause mild symptoms can be treated with medication. Over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to manage mild pain due to fibroids. Ones having heavy bleeding during their periods can take iron supplements to correct or prevent anaemia. Certain drugs commonly used for birth control can be prescribed to help control symptoms of fibroids. Low-dose birth control pills, progesterone-like injections, and intrauterine device called Mirena prove effective in this regard. Drugs called “gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists” (GnRHa) are given by injection, nasal spray, or implanted, for shrinking the fibroids.

Sometimes these drugs are used before surgery to make removing fibroids easier.

Surgery for Treating Fibroids. If fibroids are accompanied by moderate or severe symptoms, it is best to treat them through surgery. Some of the common surgical options are myomectomy, hysterectomy, endometrial ablation, myolysis, and uterine fibroid embolization. Radiofrequency ablation and anti-hormonal drugs are some of the uncommon treatments for fibroid.

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