Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow in or on a woman’s uterus (womb). They are also called Leomyomas or myomas. Fibroids vary in size and location within the uterus, some are very small cannot be detected by the eyes while others are big enough to enlarged uterus and alter its shape. The location of fibroids in the uterus vary, they can appear on the surface of the uterus, on the uterine wall, inside the uterus while that are found growing on a stem.
Fibroids usually show up doing the shard bridge in women (25-50years) and majority of women with fibroids did not know that they have it. This health condition do not usually bring up any symptoms and if it does the common symptom is painful and heavy menstrual flow. Fibroids are not associated with uterine cancer and having it does not increase the risk of uterine cancer.
What causes fibroids?
The exact cause of fibriod is unclear. However there are certain conditions that can stimulate the growth of fibroids in or around the uterus. These conditions include;
- Hormones production: oestrogen and progesterone are the hormones that are produced by the ovaries of a woman during her childbearing age and they help to thicken the wall of the uterus during menstruation. This hormone stimulates the growth of fibriodd especially during pregnancy when their production is very high.. Fibroids tend to shrink during and after menopause when the production of estrogen and progesterone is reduced.
- Family history: genetics also play a significant role in the development of fibroids. If your grandmother, mother and other relatives have a history of fibroids you are more likely to develop the disease.
- Obesity: being overweight can also contribute to the development of fibroids. A study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine in 2019 revealed that obesity can cause metabolism process to fail and stimulate abnormal estrogen high environment thereby increasing the risk of fibroids.
What are the risk factors of fibroids?
This refers to various factors that can increase your risk of fibroid and include:
- Age of 25 and above
- Family history of fibroids
- Excessive alcohol intake
What are the types of fibroids
The type of fibres depends on their location with in the uterus. The four main types of fibres include:
- Intramural fibroid: this is the most common type of fibroid. An intramural fibroids develop within the muscle wall of the uterus and it can enlarge and increase the size of the uterus (womb).
- Subserosal fibroid: this type of fibroid grow outside the wall of the uterus. it develops on the cells are which is the thing and external layer of the uterus.
- Submucosal fibroid: it develops in the middle muscular layer of the uterus. Submucosa fibroid is the least common type of fibroid and it can enlarge the size of uterus which can lead to infertility when the fallopian tube are being blocked.
- Pandiculated fibroid: this refers to a fibroid that grows on a stalk on the uterus.
Symptoms of fibroids
most women do not experience any symptoms when they have fibroids but few of them may explain the following symptoms:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Intensed menstrual pains
- Frequent urination
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Pelvic pains
- Fullness in the lower abdomen
- Prolonged menstrual periods
- Anaemia due to heavy blood loss
- Complications during birth which can result into cesarean delivery
When to see your doctor
You need to see your doctor if:
- You experience heavy menstrual flow that last longer than usual
- You experience persistent fullness in your lower stomach area
- You always have seriously menstrual pains
- Experience persistent pelvic pains
Fibroids shrink during and after menopause and women who do not experience any symptoms of fibroids might not even know they have it. Therefore if you experience any of the above symptoms it is advisable that you see your doctor for immediate medical care to avoid complications such as anemia and infertility.
How is fibroid diagnosed
If you experience symptoms that are situated with fabulous you may want to see your doctor or gynecologist to diagnose the health condition. in most cases fibroids are detected when you visit the clinic for a routine pelvic exam. Your doctor will check your vagina, vulva, cervix, ovaries and uterus during a pelvic exam. If there is any change in the size and shape of the uterus your doctor may diagnose fibroids and order for one of the following test to confirm the diagnosis:
- Ultrasounds: another sound makes use of high frequency wave to produce an image of the uterus in order to accurately diagnose the fibroid. To conduct an ultrasound, your doctor will please an ultrasound transducer over your lower abdomen or insert a small ultrasound transducer into your vagina to create an image of the uterus.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI): this uses magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed image of the uterus and ovaries. This imaging test helps your doctor to know the type of fibroid you have and also suggest the best treatment for such fibroid.
- Lab test: in the case where there is severe loss of blood during menstruation, your doctor may order for complete blood count (CBC) in order to detect anaemia which is a regular symptoms of fibroids.
- Heteroscopy: your doctor will start a small device with a camera at the tip into your womb through your vagina and cervix in order to examine the inside of you womb. This test is commonly used to diagnose samosa fibroids.
Treatment of fibroids
The treatments depend on the size of the fibroids, symptoms of fibroids and age factor. During menopause, fibriods begin to shrink due to reduced production of oestrogen and progesterone and the symptoms of fibroids ease gradually and completely disappear during this period.
If the size of the fibroid is very large and the symptoms are entering your daily activities, your doctor my documents the following treatment or combinations of treatments:
The common medications that are recommended are those that relieves the symptoms of pains and regulate hormones production level in other to shrink fibroid and control menstruation. These medications include:
- Gonadotropin- releasing hormone (GnRH) argonist: this medication works by preventing the production of estrogens and progesterone. This stops menstruation are shrink fibroids. GnRH argonistbrings up the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats and insomnia. Osteoporosis may also result from the long-term use of GnRH. Your doctor may recommend gnrh agonist to shrink fibroids before surgery. Examples of these medications include Leuprolide (lupron) and triptorelin (Trelstar)
- GnRH antagonist: this drug blocks the production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) in the body thereby stimulating the shrinking of fibroids. Examples of GnRH antagonist include cetrolix acetate and gamirelix acetate.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): these medications have effective anti-inflammatory properties and they are usually recommended to relieve pains that are experienced during heavy menstrual flows. This medications do not stop the production of hormones or control menstruations.it’s can only effective in relieving pains. Examples of NSAIDs include acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- Levoenorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS): this is a plastic T-shaped device that is placed in the womb through the vagina which releases a hormone called “levoenorgestrel”. This hormone prevents heavy menstrual bleedings.
- Contraceptive pills: these are medications that are taken to prevent pregnancy. Contraceptive pills controls the release of eggs from the ovaries and some of them can prevent menstrual pains and heavy menstrual flow.
There are different surgical procedure that can be used to remove a fibroid and it depends on the severity of the symptoms. The surgical procedures include:
- Myomectomy: this is a surgical procedure that involves removing the fibroids and leaving the womb intact. The surgery can be performed laparoscopically by making several small incisions in the lower part of the abdomen and removing the fibroid or through abdominal myomectomy that is carried out through an open surgery. This surgery is best recommended if you still want to have children in the future.
- Hysterectomy: in the case of severe bleeding and large multiple fibroids, hysterectomy is usually performed to remove the entire uterus. This is the most effective way of treating and curing fibroids.. The consequences of this surgery is that you won’t be able to be a child again in the future.
- Endometrial ablation: this is a non-invasive surgery procedure that involves destroying the lining of the uterus. It is performed by inserting a thin tube into the uterus through the cervix to remove or destroy the lining of the uterus using hot water, laser, electric current and intensed cold. The primary purpose of endometrial ablation is to reduce heavy menstrual flow.
- Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE): this surgery is performed by injecting a guillotine particle through a tiny tube called catheter into the vessel that supplies blood to the fibroids. When the blood supply to the fibrous are being blocked this will make it to shrink.
- MRI focused ultrasound surgery: this is a non-invasive surgical method whereby MRI scan are used to locate and target the fibroids and high frequency sound waves are delivered to shrink It.
Can fibroids be prevented?
Since the specific cause of fibroid is unknown it is impossible and difficult to prevent them. However, there are some lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of developing fibriods and avoiding them can be helpful in preventing this health condition. According to a study published in the international Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the factors that can increase the risk of uterine fibroids include age, premenopausal state, hypertension, food additive, soya beans, consumption of milk and family history of diseases .
Healthy diet development and engaging in physical activity for weight loss (especially in people that are obesed) may help to regulate oestrogen level in the body thereby preventing the development of fibroids.