Uterine Fibroids – A Comprehensive Guide

uterine fibroids

Uterine Fibroids are quite common during a woman’s childbearing years. They are growths in the uterus and do not cause major health problems.

Read on to know more about them.

Uterine Fibroids Symptoms

Most women don’t show any symptoms of uterine fibroids. In other cases, the symptoms vary depending on the size, location, and the number of fibroids and can be any of the following.

  • Periods that may last over a week
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvis
  • Backache or pain in the legs
  • Problems with emptying the bladder
  • Constipation

To figure out if you have fibroids, you can consult a doctor on MediBuddy.

Causes of Uterine Fibroids

There are no known causes for fibroids. However, based on research, some possible triggers are:

Hormonal changes

Progesterone and oestrogen prepare the uterine lining for the menstrual cycle by thickening it. These hormones seem to affect fibroid growth. This has been observed from the fact that fibroids reduce in size after menopause when the production of both these hormones slows down.

Genetic factors

Having uterine fibroids can also be a genetic problem.

How are Uterine Fibroids Diagnosed?

The obstetrician/gynaecologist may use any of the following tools to confirm uterine fibroids:

 

  • Ultrasounds: Internal or external ultrasounds can help diagnose fibroids. External ultrasounds are carried out by moving a transducer over the abdomen. The resulting images will appear on the screen of the device. An internal ultrasound requires a wand. It is inserted in the vagina to confirm the presence of fibroids.
  • Lab tests: If you have abnormal menstrual bleeding, then your doctor may prescribe lab tests to find out if fibroids are the reason.

 

How are Uterine Fibroids Treated?

If your uterine fibroids do not cause any symptoms, many doctors recommend ‘watchful waiting’. In this approach, the doctor will prescribe treatment only if there are significant symptoms.

The treatment methods are:

  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists: Also called Gn-RH agonists, these medications can put your body in a post-menopausal state to stop the effects of oestrogen and progesterone. The fibroids will shrink once your body is in this state.

Remember, this state is temporary – your menstrual cycle will resume once you stop medication.

  • Progestin-releasing intrauterine device: Also called IUD, this device is an effective treatment for women who suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding caused by fibroids. However, this only helps with the bleeding. It will not shrink your fibroids. Moreover, it also prevents pregnancy.
  • Tranexamic acid: This is a medicine that can help women gain relief from heavy bleeding. Like IUDs, this will not treat the fibroids.
  • Non-invasive procedure: This is an MRI-guided procedure that is carried out while you are inside the MRI machine. The MRI machine helps doctors pinpoint the location of the tumours. They then use sound waves to break them down.
  • Uterine artery embolization: This treatment prevents blood flow to the fibroids. As a result, they die and shrink.
  • Myolysis: In this, experts use an electric current to destroy the fibroids. Conversely, they may use a laser instead.
  • Endometrial ablation: This treatment uses heat, hot water, microwave energy, and currents. It destroys the lining of the uterus so that fibroids cannot grow.
  • Hysteroscopic Myomectomy: This treatment is used if you have fibroids growing inside the uterus.

Uterine fibroids are not a cause for alarm. Almost all women have fibroids
at some point in their lives. But, if they do cause the aforementioned sym-
ptoms, consult a doctor.

 

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