Your uterus is a muscular organ in which the fertilized egg implants and turns into a baby. It is the place where the baby is formed. Uterine fibroids are the outgrowths in the uterus that often occur during childbearing age.
Uterine fibroids do not increase the chances of uterine cancer and do not develop into it. They can range in size from tiny seedlings to bulky masses that can distort the uterus. Often the common symptom it causes is heavy menstrual bleeding.
Therefore, if you have the same complaint, you must visit the healthcare provider so that they can check it. They might perform a physical exam and order an ultrasound that helps detect the fibroid. To get an expert opinion, you can book an Online Gynecologist Consultation through oladoc.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus and benign in nature. Often they resolve with hormonal therapy. But sometimes, to remove it the healthcare provider might advise a surgical operation.
What Are The Symptoms Of Uterine Fibroids?
Many women who have fibroids may be asymptomatic. In women who show signs and symptoms, the most common ones include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Fatigue and weakness associated with anemia
- Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
What Causes Uterine Fibroids?
The following factors can cause uterine fibroids. However, having them does not guarantee their occurrence.
Many uterine fibroids contain changes and mutations in genes that may form the basis of the formation of such fibroids.
Estrogen and progesterone, in addition to stimulating the development of the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle, appear to promote the growth of fibroids. Therefore their increased levels can cause uterine fibroids.
Other growth factors
Growth factors like insulin-like growth factors may affect and stimulate uterine fibroid growth.
What Are The Complications Of Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids, if small, are usually not dangerous, but sometimes they can cause the following complications:
Heavy Blood Loss
Fibroids may lead to complications such as a drop in red blood cells (anemia) from heavy blood loss. Rarely, a transfusion may be required if the blood loss is very severe. However, your healthcare provider might prescribe you iron supplements to replenish the iron loss due to heavy bleeding. If they have prescribed you iron supplements, make sure to take them as directed because, if left untreated, heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to anemia. That can lead to various complications.
Sometimes, uterine fibroids may cause infertility. Fibroids may raise the risk of pregnancy complications like placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, and preterm delivery or stillbirth.
How Is Uterine Fibroid Diagnosed?
To diagnose uterine fibroids, healthcare providers might perform the following investigations:
To confirm the presence of uterine fibroids, healthcare providers often advise an ultrasound.
In case of abnormal menstrual bleeding, CBC (complete blood count) can help the doctor to determine if you have anemia because of chronic blood loss. Your doctor may perform other blood tests like thyroid or liver function tests to rule out bleeding disorders or thyroid problems.
MRI and other imaging tests can show in more detail the size and location of fibroids, identify different types of tumors, and help determine appropriate treatment options.
Your doctor may also recommend other tests to visualize uterine fibroids. These tests include:
What Are The Treatment Options For Uterine Fibroids?
The treatment options for uterine fibroids are:
Medications for uterine fibroids may target hormones that cause fibroids or symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. These medicines don’t eliminate fibroids but may shrink them. Medications include:
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists.
These agonists block the production of estrogen and progesterone. They include leuprolide, goserelin, and triptorelin.
Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD).
It can relieve heavy bleeding caused by fibroids and also prevents pregnancy. However, the device doesn’t shrink the fibroids.
Tranexamic acid helps relieve the complaint of heavy menstrual periods associated with uterine fibroids. However, it is taken only on heavy bleeding days.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
These procedures destroy uterine fibroids without the need to perform an invasive procedure. These minimally invasive procedures include:
- Uterine artery embolization
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Laparoscopic or robotic myomectomy
- Hysteroscopic myomectomy
- Endometrial ablation
Traditional Surgical Procedures
In some cases, surgeries need to be performed to remove uterine fibroids. Options for traditional surgical procedures include:
- Abdominal myomectomy
The Bottom Line
Uterine fibroids commonly cause heavy menstrual bleeding that can be bothersome and lead to various health complications. Therefore you must visit the healthcare provider soon if you have the same complaint. Heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to anemia- a serious health condition. So please do not take it lightly.
If you are diagnosed with fibroid, you must attend follow-up visits with the healthcare provider. To get an expert opinion, you can consult a gynecologist in rawalpindi.