Fibroids are non-cancerous growths composed of fibrous tissue and muscle that arise within or around the womb (uterus). They may vary in size from as small a pea to a large melon size.
The main types of fibroids are
- Intramural fibroids – the most common type, develop in the muscle wall
- Subserosal fibroids –develop outside the wall of the womb and can become very large
- Submucosal fibroids –develop in the muscle layer beneath the inner lining of the womb and grow into the middle of the womb
When subserosal or submucosal fibroids are attached to the womb they are described as pedunculated fibroids.
What causes fibroids?
The exact cause of fibroids is unknown but there is a link with the female hormone estrogen which is produced in the ovary. They usually develop in the reproductive years (age group16-50) and tend to shrink after the menopause.
Fibroids are common and affect up to 40% of women over the age of 35.
Fibroids are reported more frequently in women of Afro-Carribbean descent and in overweight women due to their high estrogen levels.
What are the symptoms of fibroids?
Many women have no symptoms from fibroids and do not require treatment.
Women who have symptoms may experience:
- Heavy periods or painful periods–
- Abdominal or lower back pain
- Abdominal swelling/bloatedness
- Painful sex
- Passing urine frequently
What treatment options are available?
Treatment is not necessary in the absence of symptoms.
Non-surgical treatment options include drugs to manage symptoms and shrink fibroids, the mirena intrauterine device and uterine artery embolisation.
Surgical treatment options include endometrial ablation, myomectomy (removing the fibroids) and hysterectomy (removing the womb)
Your treatment is tailored to your individual circumstance, depending on age, the type and severity of symptoms and reproductive intentions and will be discussed at your consultation
For more information about fibroids visit the www.britishfibroidtrust.org.uk