Fibroids: Types, Symptoms And Diagnosis

types of uterine fibroids uterus facts

Fibroids are the abnormal growths in or on a woman’s uterus. These non-cancerous tumors grow from the muscular layers of the womb that may become quite large and cause heavy periods or severe abdominal pain. 

Before discussing the causes, symptoms and treatment of fibroids, let us put light on some facts related to fibroids: 

Some Facts About Fibroids 

- Uterine fibroids are the most common during the reproductive years. 

- Though their cause isn’t exactly known, they are said to occur when the estrogen levels increase. 

- Many of the women don’t even experience any of the uterine fibroids symptoms. However, others may feel backache, painful uterine bleeding that may cause anemia. 

Types Of Fibroids 

Depending upon its location in or on the uterus, fibroid is of four types: 

Intramural Fibroids

It is the most common type of fibroids. It appears within the muscular wall of uterus that may grow larger and stretch the womb. 

Subserosal Fibroids 

This type of fibroids extends beyond the walls of the womb and grows within the outer tissue layer of the uterus. They may develop into pedunculated fibroids, in which the fibroids have a stalk and can also get enlarged. 

Pedunculated Fibroids 

When subserosal fibroids develop a stem and a slender base, they are known as pedunculated fibroids. 

Submucosal Fibroids 

This type of tumor develops in the middle muscular layer of the uterus. However, they aren’t as common as the other types of fibroids. 

Symptoms Of Fibroids 

The symptoms depend upon the number of tumors, their size and location. For example, women having submucosal fibroids experience heavy bleeding or trouble conceiving. 

On the other hand, if the tumor is small and the patient is going through menopause, she may not have any symptoms. Also, fibroids often shrink during or after menopause. The reason is, the women who are going through menopause experience a drop in the levels of progesterone and estrogen (the hormones that stimulate uterine fibroid growth). 

Some of the common symptoms of fibroids include: 

- Pain in pelvis or lower back. 
- Heavy bleeding during or between the periods that may include blood clots. 
- Excessive menstrual cramps. 
- Increased urination. 
- Menstruation period that lasts longer than usual. 
- Fullness or pressure in the lower abdomen.
- Swelling of the abdomen. 
- Pain during sexual intercourse. 
- Constipation
- Repeated miscarriages. 

Who Is At The Risk? 

Women having any of the following risk factors are at a greater risk of developing fibroids: 

- Any family history of fibroids. 
- Women of age 30 or above. 
- Women with high body weight. 

How To Diagnose The Problem? 

Since fibroids don’t often show symptoms, they are diagnosed during the routine pelvic examinations. Following are the diagnostic tests that can detect fibroids or other critical conditions- 

Ultrasound 

Ultrasound uses sound waves of high frequency to produce images of the uterus on the screen. It allows the doctor to see the internal structure of the uterus or any fibroids present. 

Pelvic MRI 

It is an in-depth imaging test that produces images of uterus, ovary and other pelvic organs. 

Hysteroscopy 

This method uses a small device that contains a camera attached to its end to examine the inside of the womb. The doctor inserts this device through the vagina into the womb through cervix. If necessary, a biopsy may also be required to identify any cancerous cells in the area. 

Laparoscopy 

In this method, the doctor makes a small opening in the abdominal skin and inserts a small tube, containing a lighted camera attached. The camera reaches the abdominopelvic cavity to check the outside of the womb and its surrounding structures. 

After diagnosing the severity of the problem, the doctor will recommend surgical and medicinal treatments to cure fibroids. However, keeping the body weight under control, regular exercise and a healthy diet will help you to regulate the estrogen levels.

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