A fibroid is a type of tumor or growth that can be found in a woman’s uterus or ovaries. Fibroids are generally benign, meaning that it is usually not associated with the development of cancer. Around half of all women have some type of fibroid; however, most fibroids will not cause any symptoms, leaving many women unaware that they even have them until they are encountered by a doctor during a routine pelvic exam. Fibroids are also known by the medical community as Myoma, Leiomyoma and Fibromyoma.
The 5 different types
Fibroids are classified into five separate types depending on where they are locateda
- Intracavity myomas: These types of growths are located inside the cavity of the uterus and may cause bleeding in between periods along with painful cramping. If intracavity myomas prove to be troublesome, they can usually be removed through a process known as a hysteroscopic resection
- Submucous myomas: These benign tumors can be found growing partly in the cavity and partly in the uteran wall and can also cause pain and bleeding between periods. They can also be removed via hysteroscopic resection.
- Unless they get oversized and bothersome, these tumors generally do not cause any symptoms and usually do not need to be treated. Most women will not even know that they have them.
- Subseros myomas: The fibroids are found growing on the outside of the uterine wall.
- Pendunculated myomas: These are fibroids that are attached to uterus by a stem or stalk. These type of fibroids are generally easiest to remove through the use of a laparoscopy.
Fibroids can come in many different sizes from pea sized growths to giant tumors that can make a woman look five months pregnant. The growth rate of fibroids can also vary greatly. Some will stay the same small size for years, while others will grow at a rapid rate quickly becoming a problem. Sometimes pregnancy can end up causing preexisting fibroid to three to five fold bigger than it previously was. This is thought to happen due to the increase levels of estrogen present in the body during a pregnancy as well as other pregnancy related factors that contribute to the increase in size. These fibroids will generally shrink back to their previous size after the pregnancy. While some fibroids grow with pregnancy, other fibroids can make it difficult for pregnancy to happen. The most common sympyoms associated with fibroids are pelvic pain and heavy menstrual bleeding.
80% of women over the age of 50 have uterine fibroids and if you include the smallest of growths, some studies suggest that all women have them by the time they reach menopause. Most women that have fibroids generally have more than one type and sometimes there can be many as fifty different fibroids present. In fact, a solitary fibroid is much less likely than multiple ones. Some menopausal women have shown a slow increase in the size of their fibroids when they take extra estrogen while others have noticed no change at all.
At a 1:750-1000 chance, cancer rarely develops in a fibroid. Some data even suggests that cancer will not form in a preexisting fibroid but develop instead in a a part of a uterus that is not a fibroid.
Forms of treatment:
Hysteroscopic resection: this process involves a doctor inserting a tool into the cervix that has a camera attached to it which allows the doctor to spot any fibroids. The doctor can then used a feature on the tool that produces an electrical current in order to kill the fibroid tissue.
Hormone therapy: Hormones can also be used to shrink fibroids
Hysterectomy: This is considered a last result and will only be done if the fibroids are causing a lot of pain and bleeding and nothing else can be done.
Speaking to your doctor about your symptoms and getting the right kind of tests will help determine which type of treatment is ideal for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am 40, have had a period continously for nearly five months now and I have fibroids. hysterectomy?
Doctors think i should have a hysterectomy to fix the problem? Is this my only way to stop it?
Ask your doctor about an endometrial ablation. They will evaluate how serious the fibroids are to see if you are a candidate for this or not, but there are many more alternatives to hysterectomy these days.
Is hysterectomy after menopause the best answer for hormone therapy when you have uterine fibroids?
I have uterine fibroids and have gone through menopause. I desperately need HRT but due to uterine fibroids my doctor recomends hysteroctomy. I have also had steph infections in the urinary tract due to enlarged uterus. My urologists also recomends hysterectomy.
if you have both doctors telling you the same thing then I say go for it ~ i never made it to menopause I had a hyst 8 years ago & all though it was a little mind boggling for me I made it through just fine & I did do hrt for about 1 month & quit due to the high risk of heart attack & stroke & death ~but I am fine without it & have no strange hair growing any where so I did well i do believe♦
Fibroids and Alternatives to Hysterectomy?
I am 35 and am being sent for an ultrasound to see if my extremely heavy periods are being caused by fibroids. I have been married for a year and my husband and I might want children, but I want to return to school next year to take a 2 year course first so I can get a better job before we have kids. Most of the info I’ve read about fibroids says hysterectomy is the normal course for this disease. 90% of the women in my family have had to have them. I simply refuse. My question is, other than annoying symptoms, or possibly pain, is there any other severe risk of just leaving them be? I was reading that they can sometimes shrink of their own accord at menopause. If it turns out that I have them, can I just live with them until I go through menopause? I have personal and religious reasons for not wanting to have my reproductive organs removed. Could this be fatal? Even if it was, it wouldn’t change my mind, I would just like to know.
I can relate myself with you! I had many big fibroids inside my uterus, first detected when I was 24 years old. I had mayomactomy then. I became pregnant with the fibroids when I was 27 and gave birth of a low birth premature baby this July 2007. I had to take leave from my study. I had surgery that time and had hysterectomy. There was no other option.
I think if you keep the fibroids and they grow fast then it will be unbearable for you. It will cause so much heavy bleeding that you will have severe anemia. You will not be able to go anywhere during your period. Its better for you to have a treatment for your firbroids.
Hi, anyone out there from Ohio. I am soon to have an hysterectomy to have fibroids and my uterus removed?
Should be able to keep ovaries. I am in the Cincinnati Ohio area. Tell me about your TAH. I need encourgament I am almost at the point to cancel my surgery date which is in 3 weeks.
I’m not from Ohio, but am a writer about women’s health issues-I have written hundreds of articles on fibroids!
Have you had any thoughts at all about trying natural treatments to shrink your fibroids? I know it’s not an easy task but if you are committed, it can definitely work. I guess it will largely depend on how large your fibroids are though and what problems they are causing.
If you go ahead with surgery, you should certainly do everything possible to keep your ovaries, although it’s no guarantee that you won’t go into an early menopause as sometimes the shock can send women over the edge. Additionally, women who have had hysterectomies do traditionally go through the menopause(even when ovaries are intact) earlier than those who still have their uterus.
I assume you’ve looked at all the less invasive procedures, such as ablation and myectomy etc?
For more info, you might like to look at my website, How To Shrink Fibroids- there are details of all the various procedures etc on there. Good luck.
Can someone please tell me, how is Total Hysterectomy Surgery for remove fibroids in UK?
There is someone here, in Yahoo!Answers already made this surgery? I have big fibroids and maybe, I’ll need to remove it, so I would like to know somebody that already made this…There is too much painfull after surgery?How is the recovery after surgery? The days after surgery in a hospital? Somebody please help me, I never made any surgery in my whole life …
Since now, thank you!
A lot will depend on which method of surgery is used. In the UK I believe that the majority of hysterectomies are still performed through an incision in the abdomen, but some are performed by way of the vagina and others through laparoscopy. I had a hysterectomy some years ago that was performed by an incision in the abdomen. Following surgery, I experienced some pain, but was given pain killers to help and I was not too uncomfortable. The one thing to remember, when you are first able to get out of bed following the op, (and if you’ve had the same type of surgery) you will feel that you want to bend forward when you walk – don’t do this! Even if it means walking very slowly, hold your body up straight. When I went home, I was told not to do very much for sometime, but with a family to look after, I did what I felt I could comfortably do, although I certainly didn’t lift anything for a while. Our body soon lets us know if we’re overdoing it. I had a full-time, sedentary job and was told to expect to be away from work for the usual 3 months, but I was able to return to work exactly 2 months after my op. Good luck and try not to worry too much, although it is only human nature to be fearful and you wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t experience some anxiety. I have to say that I felt really marvelous once I’d had the op and recovered – better than I had for years! (Obvoiusly, the other two methods are less invasive and the way you feel and the recovery time will differ to my experience).
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