Treatment Of Fibroids Knowing And Understanding Your Options

Three out of four women develop fibroids at one point in their lives. But what exactly are fibroids?

Also known as leiomyomas or simply myomas, uterine fibroids are defined as non-cancerous growths in a uterus. Typically, they appear during the childbearing years of a woman. Fibroids develop when a single cell continuously divides itself, forming a rubbery mass. Cases of fibroids vary, with some developing slowly while some grow fast. They can also vary in size, with some hardly perceptible to the human eye while some grow large enough to distort the uterus. In many instances, fibroids are not harmful and do not lead to cancer. However, there are rare cases wherein the presence of fibroids has led to cancer of the womb.

Fibroids can be classified into four types: intramural, subserosal, submucosal and cervical. Intramural fibroids are found along the wall of the uterus while subserosal fibroids can be found outside the uterus’s wall. Submucosal fibroids develop beneath the lining of the uterus wall while cervical fibroids are located in the cervix.

Rarely do fibroids manifest themselves. In such rare cases, the common symptoms include anemia, back ache, constipation, painful sex, pregnancy problems and repeated miscarriages.

Fibroids are detected through ultrasound, trans-vaginal scans, hysteroscopy, laparoscopy and biopsy. Because many cases of fibroids show no symptoms and do not lead to cancer, many doctors advise their patients to simply wait until the fibroid shrinks, which usually happens once a woman reaches menopause.

In cases wherein the patient experiences heavy periods and menstrual pressure, the doctor prescribes medicines like Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, a progestin-releasing intrauterine device or even birth control pills. The purpose of these medications is to treat the aforementioned symptoms but not eliminate the fibroids.

In cases wherein the patient has many fibroids or the fibroids have grown large, the doctor recommends abdominal myomectomy. Another surgical procedure that is used for the treatment of fibroids is hysteroctomy or the removal of the uterus. However, this type of surgery has serious consequences, like the inability to bear a child, and if the ovaries are also removed, the patient may need to take hormone replacement medications.

Other from these two, there are also minimally-invasive techniques which can destroy fibroids. These include uterine artery embolization, myolysis, laparoscopic myomectomy, hysteroscopic myomectomy, and endometrial ablation. MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery is a relatively new non-invasive procedure that is used for fibroids without requiring surgery and is an outpatient procedure. However, because it is a new procedure, many researchers are still studying its long-term effects on women who have undergone it.