Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous or benign tumors found in the female reproductive system located in the uterus. They are primarily made up of same smooth muscle tissues as the uterine wall. They grow in a single form or in clusters too. They range in different sizes and are found in the different locations of the uterus.
Uterine fibroids are differentiated according to the location they are found such as subserosal fibroids, intramural fibroids, and submucosal fibroids. Subserosal fibroids grow on the outermost layer of the uterus, Intramural fibroids are found in the muscular layer of the uterus and are the most common type of fibroids while submucosal fibroids occur in the endometrium, the inner layer of the uterus.
The article will give an overview of the simple understanding of fibroids and their risk and treatments.
The reasons are yet unknown to humankind but the researchers are constantly working on a cure; an early diagnosis can be a benefit. Pelvic exam and an Ultrasound exam are the most convenient and inexpensive method. MRI and CT scan are also used by the physician but ultrasound remains the best choice.
Symptoms and causes
Since the cause remain unknown, a routine checkup with the gynecologist is suggested. From a patient point of view following symptoms are likely to show presence of fibroids-
1. Pelvic pain or pressure
2. Pressure on bladder with frequent urination
3. Heavy menstrual bleeding
5. Lower back and leg pain
The exact cause remain unknown, but clinical studies may have found the interlink factors which may be the cause of uterine fibroids.
1.Hormones- Fibroids are heavily influenced by the presence of estrogen which is one of the main hormone responsible for all the activity in the female reproductive system.
2.Genetic factor- A family history is one major reason for your fibroids. That’s why an early detection is key to stay updated with the health.
3.Other hormones- pregnancy, stress and other health-related issues may lead to increase or decrease in the levels of the hormones such as progesterone and estrogen.
Every woman body is different and the risk factors will also varies. Following are the factors that may increase your chances of fibroids-
1. Family history
2. Fluctuation of hormone level
3. Lifestyle habits such as dietary deficiency, irregular sleep patterns
4. Abrupt weight gain
Treatment options available
Fibroids are abnormal growth of cells found in the uterine lining cells of childbearing age women. Since the exact cause is unknown; it gets tricky to find an exact treatment. But a routine checkup with gynecologist will help you stay updated with your health. If the doctor finds it necessary and the factors such as medical history, failure of other methods, family planning etc. are considered following are some treatment options-
Non-surgical or Medications
1. Painkillers: Anti-inflammatory medications are used to curb the pain initiated by the fibroids. The pelvic pain can be controlled by these pain relievers.
2. Gonadotropin: releasing hormone agonists (GnRH agonists): this hormonal therapy decreases the level of estrogen and progesterone causing a ‘medical menopause’. This therapy induces shrinking of fibroids making it easier for surgical removal of the fibroids.
There are several surgical methods-
1. Hysterectomy- the surgical removal of the entire uterus is termed a hysterectomy. This method is opted when other methods fails to show results. After the surgery, you will not be able to bear children.
2. Myomectomy- the surgery focuses on only removal of fibroids leaving the uterus intact.
3. MRI-guided high intensity focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) – it is fairly new, non-invasive technique which helps in treatment of tumor cells by ultrasound waves. The entire therapy is guided by MRI. This method is widely used for all types of cancerous cells.
4. Uterine artery embolization (UAE) – A newly introduced technique to treat fibroids without a large abdominal incision. The artery supplying blood to the fibroids are identified and embolized (blocked) which ensures no blood has reached the fibroids thus shrinking them. This method is less invasive and allows the women in surgery a less hospital stay.
Know more about uterine fibroids and the doctors to consult for the same on the below links:
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