Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids are the most commonly diagnosed nonmalignant growths amongst women of reproductive maturity. Whether you are experiencing symptoms associated with the condition, or have already been diagnosed, you are not alone, and help is readily available to alleviate the associated discomfort. Here are some signs and symptoms of uterine tumours, advice on how to get an official diagnosis, and ultimately the help you need to live a happy and healthy life!

What Are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are growths or tumours made of various cells, including muscle and tissue, that form within the uterine wall. While they can occur in isolation, or as part of a cluster, and can vary dramatically in size, it’s very rare that these growths are cancerous. The cause of fibroids remains unclear, but the likelihood of their occurrence is determined by a variety of factors. Symptoms of uterine fibroids range from none at all, to discomfort, to more serious consequences, such as reproductive problems. Since these symptoms can be subtle enough to be overlooked, it’s always important to schedule regular checkups so that your healthcare practitioner can ensure your optimum uterine health.

How Common Are Fibroids?

Before the age of 50, up to 80% of women may experience uterine fibroids. The likelihood of fibroid development peaks during the perimenopausal years (40 to 50 years old), but any developing tumours tend to shrink once menopause has concluded. Risk of fibroid growth has also been known to increase due to factors such as prior family history, obesity, and increased red meat intake.

What Are The Symptoms Associated With Fibroids?

• Excessively heavy or painful periods and bleeding between periods

• Pressure in the pelvic area and frequent urination

• Painful intercourse

• Lumbar pain

• Reproductive issues, such as difficulty in conceiving, or multiple miscarriages

• Pregnancy complications, such as early labour, or labour resulting in emergency cesarean section

How Are Fibroids Diagnosed?

The first medical diagnosis of fibroids is generally from your doctor or gynaecologist. During a pelvic exam, your doctor should feel irregularities on or withing the uterine wall which typically indicated fibroid growth. Tests will then be conducted to confirm the diagnosis with any of the following non-invasive procedures.

Ultrasound: A probe is placed on the abdomen and generates sound waves to produce an internal picture.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Magnets and radio waves work together to create an internal image.

X-rays: A picture is produced from a form of radiation.

CT (Cat Scan): Multiple x-rays are taken for a 3D result.

HSG (Hysterosalpingogram): X-ray dye is injected into the uterus and an x-ray is taken.

Sonohysterogram: Water is injected into the uterus and an ultrasound image is produced.

What Do I Need To Know Once I’ve Been Diagnosed?

It’s vital to making peace with your diagnosis to understand your condition, and this can also aid in your treatment efforts. Questions to ask your doctor include confirming the number, size and location of your fibroids, knowing whether they will enlarge and how to recognise if they do, how often you should go for check ups, and  treatment options are available and recommended. It is also advised that a second opinion is sought to eliminate the risk of misdiagnosis.

Are Fibroids Treatable?

There are various noninvasive and surgical treatment options for fibroids. The treatment option recommended for you may depend on the size and location of the growths, your age, your plans for future pregnancies, and the severity of your symptoms.

Medication: Mild pain medications may eliminate pain related to fibroids, and iron supplements may be prescribed if symptoms of anemia are present. Birth control medication are often also recommended for fibroid treatment due to their hormone control factors. Do not take any medications unless recommended or prescribed by your doctor.

Myomectomy: This involves surgically removing the fibroids from the uterine wall. This treatment is recommended for women who wish to keep their uterus, such as for future pregnancies. This procedure does not guarantee that fibroids will not reoccur.

Hysterectomy: This surgery removes the uterus entirely, eliminating fibroid growth completely. The procedure is safe but does require an extended recovery period.

Endometrial Ablation: This procedure is performed to remove the uterine lining with laser, freezing, boiling water, electric current, or a number of other methods. While this surgery is much less invasive than a hysterectomy, pregnancy is not possible once the ablation is complete.

Myolysis: A needle inserted into the fibroids transmits electric current and destroys the fibroid cells.

Uterine Fibroid Embolisation: A thin tube is inserted into the vessels carrying blood to the fibroids and a gel is injected, cutting off the blood supply and causing the tumour to shrink.

Information is always the best way to seek proper diagnosis and treatment for uterine fibroids. Knowing what could be happening inside your body will help you avoid unnecessary anxiety when consulting a health care professional, and focus instead on their professional recommendations. If you are experiencing symptoms associated with uterine fibroids, be sure to schedule your annual pelvic check up.

If you have any questions about uterine fibroids and what you can do to seek proper diagnosis and treatment, contact us by emailing info@meducatmedical.com and we will gladly provide you with further information.

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