Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of muscle.

They’re firm, compact tumours made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They may be found inside the uterus, within its wall, on its outer surface, or attached to it by a stem-like structure.

Uterine Fibroids range in size from undetectable to the eye to masses that can cause the uterus to become enlarged. They can be slow growing, quick or remain the same size. Some may go through growth spurts and some may shrink on their own. You can have one fibroid or many.

Uterine Fibroids are not correlated to an increased risk of uterine cancer and rarely develop into cancer (sarcoma).

What are the symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?

While fibroids may be uncomfortable, in most cases they will not interfere with becoming pregnant. However, in rare cases, they can raise the risk of certain pregnancy complications such as preterm delivery. Although rare, they may cause infertility or pregnancy loss.

Whilst there is no clear cause for Uterine Fibroids, it’s believed that each one develops from abnormal muscle cells in the uterus.

Progesterone and estrogen appear to promote fibroid growth. Fibroids are found to have more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine muscle cells.

Due to a decrease in hormone production Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause.

It is possible to have a fibroid or fibroids without knowing, as they often don’t cause symptoms.

Women can have fibroids with little to no symptoms. Other women may have more severe symptoms. These can include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Constipation
  • Periods lasting more than a week
  • Miscarriages
  • Pain during sex
  • Infertility

How can we help?

Fibroids are usually discovered during routine pelvic exams.

To gather more information these tools may be used:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Hysteroscopy ( a thin, lighted tube inserted through the vagina
  • for examination of the cervix and uterus)
  • Transvaginal ultrasound ( a small instrument is placed in the
  • vagina)
  • Blood test, to check for anaemia if a fibroid tumour is causing heavy
  • bleeding
  • Endometrial biopsy (a sample of tissue obtained through a tube
  • inserted into the uterus)

Fibroids often stop growing or shrink as you reach menopause. Symptoms can be monitored to check that there are no changes to the fibroids. If your fibroids are large or bothering you, treatment may need to be sought. Please contact our rooms for a consultation.

Lionel’s Journal

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