Uterine fibroids are mild and non-progressive tumours that grow from the muscle layers of the uterus. They get shrunk after the affected female reaches her menopause stage. In most cases, they remain unnoticed, as they do not cause any problems. Uterine fibroids get treated either surgically or with medication only when they turn problematic. Uterine artery embiolization, myomectomy, hysterectomy and hormonal therapy are the possible medical interventions.
Generally, uterine fibroids are categorised under four heads. The classification is made on the basis of their area of location. Those fibroids seen outside the womb wall are called as Subserosal fibroids. They generally tend to be of a larger size. Intramural fibroids grow inside the wall of the womb. These are the commonly found kind of fibroids. Fibroids that start as intramural ones may later develop to the outside wall of the uterus and turn out to be subserosal ones. When found in the inner lining muscle of the womb wall, they are called Submucosal fibroids. Submucosal ones are those fibroids that normally interfere with pregnancy. Cervical fibroids are spotted inside the neck of the womb. When the fibroids seen on the smooth muscles inside the womb turn out to be cancerous in nature, they are termed as leiomyosarcoma of the womb.
Symptoms vary on the basis of the size of the lesion and its place of finding. Extremely heavy and painful periods, gynaecologic haemorrhage, abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, back ache, urinary retention or frequency etc are the general symptoms. In certain cases, fibroids can result in infertility as well. Depending upon the location, fibroids might cause pain during sexual intercourse. Fibroids are also associated with an increased risk of pregnancy-related irregularities such as abortion, bleeding and pre-mature delivery.
Gynaecologic ultrasonography, generally referred to as ‘ultrasound’ is the usual means by which fibroids get diagnosed. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is opted for when a more precise assay of the fibroid is needed. If by any chance, these two techniques do not provide the exact picture, doctors go for laproscopy. Laproscopy is also done when fibroids interfere with pregnancy.