Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during your childbearing years. Also called fibromyomas, leiomyomas or myomas, uterine fibroids aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer.
Uterine fibroids are the most common, non-cancerous tumors in women of childbearing age. The fibroids are made of muscle cells and other tissues that grow within and around the wall of the uterus.
Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus (womb). Another medical term for fibroids is “leiomyoma” (leye-oh-meye-OH-muh) or just “myoma”. Fibroids are almost always benign (not cancerous). Fibroids can grow as a single tumor, or there can be many of them in the uterus.
Causes of Uterine Fibroid
Uterine fibroids develop from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus (myometrium). A single cell reproduces repeatedly, eventually creating a pale, firm, rubbery mass distinct from neighboring tissue.
African-Americans are 2-3 times more likely to present with symptomatic uterine fibroids and typically will do so at a younger age than the rest of the population of women with uterine fibroids.
Average age range for fibroids to become symptomatic is 35-50.
Fibroids can be tiny and cause no problems, but they can also grow to weigh several pounds. They grow slowly. Some women with many fibroids may have an inherited tendency toward developing them.
Fibroids may also cause pain or a feeling of pressure or heaviness in the lower pelvic area (the area between the hip bones), the back or the legs. Some women have pain during sexual intercourse. Others have a constant feeling that they need to urinate.
Signs and symptoms of Uterine Fibroid
Subserosal fibroids. Fibroids that project to the outside of the uterus (subserosal fibroids) can sometimes press on your bladder, causing you to experience urinary symptoms. If fibroids bulge from the back of your uterus, they occasionally can press either on your rectum, causing constipation, or on your spinal nerves, causing backache.
Irregular or unpredictable bleeding
The most common complaints of women with fibroids are pressure symptoms and heavy periods. An enlarged womb will place pressure on the bladder giving increased urinary symptoms (eg. frequency), and can cause back ache, lower abdominal discomfort and pain on intercourse. Fibroids can cause very heavy periods, leading to iron-deficiency anaemia.
Treatment of Uterine Fibroid
If you’re like most women with uterine fibroids, you have no signs or symptoms. In your case, watchful waiting (expectant management) could be the best course. Fibroids aren’t cancerous. They rarely interfere with pregnancy. They usually grow slowly and tend to shrink after menopause when levels of reproductive hormones drop
Uterine artery embolization is a new procedure aimed at preventing the need for major surgery. The method stops the blood supply that makes fibroids grow. The long-term effects of this procedure are still unknown, and the safety of pregnancy after this procedure is questionable.
A laparotomic myomectomy (also known as an open or abdominal myomectomy) is the most invasive surgical procedure to remove fibroids. The physician makes an incision in the abdominal wall and removes the fibroid from the uterus. A particularly extensive laparotomic procedure may necessitate that any future births be conducted by Caesarean section.