Uterine fibroids are abnormal growths, or tumors, in the uterus. Developing these is a very common occurrence – 70% to 80% of women have uterine fibroids by the time they are 50 years of age. These growths are generally noncancerous. Most of the time, these abnormal growths go undetected. However, there are times when the uterine fibroids become quite large and cause heavy periods with extreme abdominal pain.
The exact reason for the development of uterine fibroids is unknown. These fibroids are generally diagnosed by an ultrasound or a pelvic MRI. The different kinds of fibroids, their possible causes, and the subsequent treatments are discussed below.
Different kinds of fibroids grow in different parts (inside and outside) of the uterus.
Intramural fibroids – This is the most common type of fibroid. They appear within the lining of the uterus, and they can become quite large in size and stretch to the womb.
Subserosal fibroids – These appear on the outside of the uterus. They can become large enough to make the womb look bigger in size on one side.
Pedunculated fibroids – Subserosal fibroids with stems are called pedunculated fibroids.
Submucosal Fibroids – These fibroids grow on the inner lining of the uterus. They are quite uncommon. They cause heavy menstrual bleeding and may make conceiving difficult.
There are several known causes of uterine fibroids.
Hormones – The estrogen and progesterone hormones produced by the ovaries cause the uterine walls to break during each menstrual cycle. This regular degeneration may be a cause for the growth of fibroids.
Genetics – Uterine fibroids may run in the family.
Pregnancy – The production of estrogen and progesterone increases during pregnancy. The chances of fibroid growth can increase as a result of this.
Other factors – Being overweight can be a reason for growth of fibroids. They are also most common in women of African-American descent and those who are above 30 years of age.
The ideal treatment for uterine fibroids depends on the patient’s age, health, and the size of the fibroids. There are many ways of treating fibroids.
Medicines – Different medicines that can control the amount of hormones produced by the ovaries are prescribed to treat uterine fibroids. These can effectively reduce the size of the fibroids and eliminate them from the uterus. Birth control pills will regulate your menstrual bleeding and control the abdominal pain but will not shrink or eliminate the fibroids.
Surgery – Large or multiple fibroids can be removed by surgery. The procedure is called a myomectomy. During it, incisions are made to reach the uterus and remove the fibroids. If no other treatment works, a hysterectomy (removal of the entire uterus) may be performed.
Non-invasive surgeries can also be performed. The different types of non-invasive surgeries include forced ultrasound surgery (FUS), myolisis, cryomyolisis, and endometrial ablation.
In FUS, high-frequency and high-energy sound waves are directed at the fibroids to destroy them. In myolisis, laser or electric current is used to shrink the fibroids. Cryomyolisis involves the freezing of the fibroids. Microwaves, heat, hot water, or electric current is used in endometrial ablation to precisely and safely destroy key areas of the lining of the uterus.
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Experienced surgeons Dr. John Miklos and Dr. Robert Moore will be happy to recommend the proper course of action to eliminate your uterine fibroids. Schedule a consultation – contact our office today to get started.