Uterine fibroids are benign or noncancerous growths that develop within the uterus. They are
also referred to as leiomyomas. Although, uterine fibroids are abnormal growths they rarely
progress into cancer and so they aren’t expected to increase a woman’s risk of developing
uterine cancer in the near future. These benign growths usually affect women in the
reproductive or childbearing age group. Uterine fibroids are quite common, and are believed to
affect nearly 3 out of every 4 women, although most of these women are oblivious about their
existence in their uteri. Since, most uterine fibroids aren’t likely to produce any symptoms they
prenatal work-up. Usually, a pelvic ultrasound is enough to confirm the diagnosis of uterine
fibroids. However, some rare cases may also require MRI, hysterosalpingography,
hysterosonography, or hysteroscopy to diagnose these benign growths in the uterus.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are mainly abnormal noncancerous growths that develop from the wall of the
uterus. These growths tend to rise from the smooth muscular lining of the uterus known as the
myometrium. At first, a singular cell may begin to divide continually to result in a rubbery mass
of uterine tissue to form a uterine fibroid. This division may occur gradually over a period of
time or it may occur swiftly, with a few fibroids also undergoing growth spurts on and off. The
size and number of fibroids is likely to vary too, with sizes ranging anywhere between
unnoticeable tiny growths to large fibroids that distort the uterus expanding it to accommodate
They are broadly classified into three sub-categories depending on their location in the uterus:
Fibroids that develop inside the cavity of the uterus are known as submucosal fibroids, while
those that protrude outside the uterine walls are known as subserosal fibroids, and those that
grow confined inside the muscular uterine wall are known as intramural fibroids.
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
Not all uterine fibroids are likely to produce symptoms. However, some of them may produce
symptoms that tend to differ from woman to woman. Some of the possible symptoms of
- Prolonged menses and/or heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Frequent urination or a difficulty in passing urine
- Submucoal fibroids may also hinder the chances of conception in a woman
How Are Uterine Fibroids Treated?
There are several different options when it comes to treating uterine fibroids. However, most
fibroids that produce mild or no symptoms are left alone as they aren’t likely to discomfort the
woman or turn into cancer. Fibroids that produce unbearable discomfort or symptoms and
those that may interfere with a woman’s chances of conceiving are treated surgically. Most
surgeries like uterine artery embolization, myolysis, myomectomy, and endometrial ablation
focus on the excision of the fibroid alone leaving the uterus and ovaries intact. However, in
cases with multiple uterine fibroids or abnormally large fibroids hysterectomy may also be
recommended. Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus with or without the ovaries.
Speak to your doctor about your symptoms and the best and most suitable line of treatment for
your uterine fibroids and its associated symptoms.