What are fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tissue growths that form on the uterus walls. They can become multiple growths and grow quite large or remain small causing no symptoms. It is unsure what exactly causes fibroids to grow, however, it is believed that the female hormones progesterone and oestrogen play a role.
What are the symptoms?
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual bleeding which lasts longer than a week
- Pelvic pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Uterine fibroids may also cause infertility issues and increase your risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.
How are fibroids diagnosed?
Dr Lerm will need to perform a combination of the following tests to diagnose the cause of your symptoms accurately. She may make use of the following diagnostic procedures:
- An ultrasound may be used to give her an image of the pelvic organs and view abnormalities and growths.
- Hysteroscopy, which is a thin scope, may be inserted into the vagina to the cervix, may be used by your gynaecologist to view the uterus walls.
- A sample of the endometrial wall may be taken during an endometrial biopsy to test the tissue.
- An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) may be taken to view the internal organs.
- Or a sonohysterography may be done by placing fluid inside the uterus using a thin tube in order to take internal ultrasound images of the uterus.
What treatment is available?
Depending on the size, amount and location of the fibroids, and the severity of your symptoms, treatment may vary. In some cases, fibroids can be left to resolve on their own if you aren't experiencing any complications or symptoms. Treatment of fibroids may include:
- Birth control methods to lessen heavy menstrual periods.
- Uterine artery embolisation may be done to cut the blood supply to the fibroids and reduce their growth.
- A laparoscopic myomectomy may be done to remove smaller fibroids, while larger fibroids may require open myomectomy surgery.
- In severe and suitable cases, a hysterectomy can be considered for the treatment of fibroids.