Subserous fibroids are those that grow on the outside of the uterus, and cause the uterus to appear larger than it is. They typically grow during menstruation, as this is when their blood supply to the uterus is greatest. The blood supplies the subserous fibroids with nutrients and oxygen, which causes them to accelerate their growth.
Subserous fibroids have the potential to grow very big, and can even expand to the size of a six month pregnancy. They can cause a feeling of bulkiness and constant discomfort. They can also cause pain in unrelated areas of the body, such as the lower back or the back of the legs, as they can stimulate sensory nerves attached to these areas of the body.
Symptoms of subserous fibroids include abdominal bloating, especially during menstruation, as well as looking pregnant due to the bulky fibroid. Because of their size and location, they can put pressure on other organs, including the colon, causing difficulty in moving the bowels, and the bladder, causing incontinence or difficulty in urinating. They can even damage the tubes that connect the bladder to the kidneys, and damage the kidneys.
Another disadvantage of very large fibroids is that they need a lot of blood to keep themselves alive. Sometimes the blood cannot reach the centre of the fibroids, and this causes parts of the fibroid to be starved of blood and oxygen and then tissue death, which can be extremely painful.
They can sometimes be mistaken for ovarian cysts, especially if they are attached to the outside of the uterus by a stalk. The only way doctors can tell the difference between a subserous fibroid and an ovarian cyst is by performing an MRI, as ultrasounds don’t give enough information. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and it is a new technology that allows a radiologist to produce detailed pictures of the inside of the body.
According to doctors, subserous fibroids are easier to remove surgically than most other types of fibroids, as they are on the outside of the uterus. The most common surgical option is a laparoscopic myomectomy. This is a form of keyhole surgery, where the surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen in order to surgically remove the fibroid.
A study was carried out at the Third Military Medical University in China, where doctors reviewed the effectiveness of myomectomies and Uterine Artery Embolization. Uterine Artery Embolization is when the blood supply to the fibroids is surgically blocked in order to shrink fibroids by depriving them of blood and nutrients.
The doctors treated 142 women with fibroids ranging from 2 cm to 12 cm with either myomectomy or Uterine Artery Embolization, and then followed up with each woman about 16 months later to see whether the fibroids came back. They found that the fibroids grew back in 5 of the women, which indicates that it is not completely foolproof.
Although surgery can provide you with fast results, there are risks. For example, laparascopic myomectomies can damage blood vessels or the intestines. They can also cause additional scar tissue and adhesions, which can affect your digestion and fertility. Uterine Artery Embolization causes tissue death, which can lead to serious infection in the uterus that can spread to other parts of the body. While the tissue is dying there will be a lot of pain, and the dead tissue will cause a very unpleasant vaginal odor.