Uterine Fibroids - Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Uterine Fibroids

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Uterine Fibroids

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Uterine Fibroids are lumps of non-cancerous tissues that grow inside or around the uterus. They generally appear in women between the age of 30-50. Fibroids may be present in different sizes. You are at low risk for developing this condition if you have kids.

There are three main types of fibroids: 

  1. Intramural fibroids:
  2. Fibroids develop inside the wall of the uterus. 
  3. Subserosal fibroids: Fibroids develop on the outer wall of the uterus. 
  4. Submucosal fibroids:
  5. Fibroids bulge into the cavity of the uterus.

Uterine fibroid

Uterine Fibroids are lumps of non-cancerous tissues that grow inside or around the uterus. They generally appear in women between the age of 30-50. Fibroids may be present in different sizes. You are at low risk for developing this condition if you have kids.

There are three main types of fibroids: 

  1. Intramural fibroids:
  2. Fibroids develop inside the wall of the uterus. 
  3. Subserosal fibroids: Fibroids develop on the outer wall of the uterus. 
  4. Submucosal fibroids:
  5. Fibroids bulge into the cavity of the uterus.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis

Post a thorough clinical examination, and some routine blood tests like a thyroid test, your gynaecologist will advise one or more of these tests to look for uterine fibroids:

  • Ultrasound scan: To visualize the fibroids, their size, location and number. The doctor may also inject saline into the uterus to get a clearer image during the ultrasound.
  • Hysteroscopy: The doctor uses a small telescope called a hysteroscope to view inside your vagina and uterus. This procedure is specifically helpful to detect submucosal fibroids.

                                             

The doctor makes a small cut on your belly and inserts a small telescope that contains a light and a camera. Laparoscopy helps to detect subserosal fibroids or intramural fibroids. During hysteroscopy and laparoscopy, the doctors may decide to remove the fibroid entirely. They may take out a small piece of the tissue for further tests. This is called a biopsy.

Treatment

Your doctor may not recommend any medicines if the fibroids do not show any symptoms or do not interfere in your daily life. The treatment depends on your age, health, symptoms, type of fibroids, your pregnancy status, etc.

1. Home remedies for acute pain relief 

You can try the home remedies listed below to reduce fibroids. However, this treatment may not be effective for all, especially if you have severe fibroids. 

  • Heating pads.
  • Massage.
  • Over-the counter pain relivers, such as ibuprofen. 
  • Vitamin (B1, B6, and E) supplements. However, do talk to a doctor if you wish to take supplements.

2. Medications 

Doctors may prescribe any of the following medications if you have any symptoms listed above for fibroids.

  • Over-the-counter medicines: If you have mild pain, doctors may recommend some pain relievers. If you experience heavy bleeding, doctors might prescribe hormone-containing pills as treatment. In addition to this, iron supplements can help to prevent anaemia. 
  • Medicines used to reduce heavy blood flow: Medicines containing hormones can be taken but would be less effective if the fibroids are large.
  • Medicines that help to shrink large fibroids: If the medicines used to treat heavy periods do not work, doctors may prescribe gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues to shrink them.

3. Nonsurgical options: There are alternatives to surgery like uterine artery embolization, endometrial ablation, and MRI-guided procedures to treat fibroids.

4. Surgery: If your symptoms are worsening, your doctor might suggest surgery. Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks for several surgeries like: 

  • Hysteroscopy: This procedure utilizes a small telescope, known as a hysteroscope equipped with small surgical instruments to remove the fibroids. This procedure is particularly suitable for women who wish to have babies later.
  • Myomectomy: If you are planning to have children later, doctors may recommend a myomectomy. This surgery removes only the fibroids from the uterus.
  • Hysterectomy: A surgical method that removes the uterus and/or other parts of the reproductive system.

                                                                   

5. Can Ayurveda and Homoeopathy help?

Herbal remedies like green tea, chasteberry, ispaghula, senna, castor oil, and traditional Chinese medicines may help shrink fibroids or reduce the symptoms associated with fibroids. Since herbal medicines lack extensive research, it is best to talk to your doctor first before trying these out.

 

How to prepare for your appointment?

  • Make a list of all your concerns to discuss with your doctor. 
  • If you are already diagnosed with fibroids, ask your doctor regarding the type, size, location and number of fibroids. 
  • You should also discuss various treatment options and comparisons between different treatments.      

Symptoms of Uterine fibroids

You might not know you have fibroids, as several women do not experience any signs or symptoms.Few symptoms typically seen with fibroids are:

  1. Heavy bleeding during or between periods.
  2. Pelvic pain.
  3. Pain in the lower back.
  4. Pain during sex.
  5. Frequent peeing.
  6. Constipation.
  7. Feeling of fullness in the lower belly

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Diagnosis of Uterine Fibroid

Post a thorough clinical examination, and some routine blood tests like a thyroid test, your gynaecologist will advise one or more of these tests to look for uterine fibroids:

  1. Ultrasound scan: To visualize the fibroids, their size, location and number. The doctor may also inject saline into the uterus to get a clearer image during the ultrasound.
  2. Hysteroscopy: The doctor uses a small telescope called a hysteroscope to view inside your vagina and uterus. This procedure is specifically helpful to detect submucosal fibroids.
  3. Laparoscopy:The doctor makes a small cut on your belly and inserts a small telescope that contains a light and a camera. Laparoscopy helps to detect subserosal fibroids or intramural fibroids

During hysteroscopy and laparoscopy, the doctors may decide to remove the fibroid entirely. They may take out a small piece of the tissue for further tests. This is called a biopsy

Treatment for Uterine fibroids

Treatment

Your doctor may not recommend any medicines if the fibroids do not show any symptoms or do not interfere in your daily life. The treatment depends on your age, health, symptoms, type of fibroids, your pregnancy status, etc.

Home remedies for acute pain relief 

  1. You can try the home remedies listed below to reduce fibroids. However, this treatment may not be effective for all, especially if you have severe fibroids.
  2. Heating pads.
  3. Massage.
  4. Over-the counter pain relivers, such as ibuprofen. 
  5. Vitamin (B1, B6, and E) supplements. However, do talk to a doctor if your wish to take supplements.

Medications 

  1. Doctors may prescribe any of the following medications if you have any symptoms listed above for fibroids.
  2. Over-the-counter medicines: If you have mild pain, doctors may recommend some pain relivers. If you experience heavy bleeding, doctors might prescribe hormone-containing pills as treatment. In addition to this, iron supplements can help to prevent anaemia.
  3. Medicines used to reduce heavy blood flow: Medicines containing hormones can be taken but would be less effective if the fibroids are large.
  4. Medicines that help to shrink large fibroids: If the medicines used to treat heavy periods do not work, doctors may prescribe gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues to shrink them.

Nonsurgical options 

  1. There are alternatives to surgery like uterine artery embolization, endometrial ablation, and MRI-guided procedures to treat fibroids.

Surgery

If your symptoms are worsening, your doctor might suggest surgery. Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of several surgeries like: 

  1. Hysteroscopy: This procedure utilizes a small telescope, known as a hysteroscope equipped with small surgical instruments to remove the fibroids. This procedure is particularly suitable for women who wish to have babies later.
  2. Myomectomy: If you are planning to have children later, doctors may recommend a myomectomy. This surgery removes only the fibroids from the uterus.
  3. Hysterectomy: A surgical method that removes the uterus and/or other parts of the reproductive system

Can Ayurveda and homoeopathy help?

  1. Herbal remedies like green tea, chaste berry, ispaghula, senna, castor oil, and traditional Chinese medicines may help shrink fibroids or reduce the symptoms associated with fibroids. Since herbal medicines lack extensive research, it is best to talk to your doctor first before trying these out.

 

Benefits of treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Most fibroids do not cause any symptoms and don’t require treatment other than regular observation by your healthcare provider. These are typically small fibroids.

When you don’t experience symptoms, it’s called an Asymptomatic fibroid. Larger fibroids can cause you to experience a variety of symptoms which can cause excessive bleeding during mensuration, frequent urination , constipation etc. Various treatment procedures help a woman get respite from this situation. 

 

Risk and Delay in treatment for Uterine fibroids

  1. If left untreated, uterine fibroids can increase in size and number, take over the uterus and worsen the symptoms.
  2. It can cause infertility in some women. 
  3. Conditions like Bleeding can become heavier, and it may be accompanied by severe cramping and anaemia.

Reviewer

Dr. Monika Dubey

Dr. Monika Dubey

MBBS, MS Obstetrics & Gynaecology

21 Years Experience

A specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology with a rich experience of over 21 years is currently working in HealthFort Clinic. She has expertise in Hymenoplasty, Vaginoplasty, Vaginal Tightening, Labiaplasty, MTP (Medical Termination...View More

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Charu Shrivastava

Charu Shrivastava

BSc. Biotechnology I MDU and MSc in Medical Biochemistry (HIMSR, Jamia Hamdard)

2 Years Experience

Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical content. Her proofreading and content writing for medical websites is impressive. She creates informative and engaging content that educ...View More

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