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Uterine Fibroids

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Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids are non-threatening swellings in the uterus. Their presence is visibly present in the pelvis of the woman. Fibroids in some women are not as large as the fibroids in other women’s bodies. Those smaller fibroids do not pose a threat to the health of the woman, but it is important to note that the body of each woman differs.
Other women have threatening fibroids in their body system due to their location, size, and number. This post will explain the various types and roots of fibroids, signs, and difficulties, analysis, and treatment.

  • Types of Fibroids
  • Causes of Fibroids
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Medications
  • Surgical Options
Types of Fibroids

Types of Fibroids

There are multiple types of fibroids, and we will be analyzing them one after the other. For example, we have the uterine fibroids which are swellings that stem from the muscle of the uterus. They are popularly known as myomas or leiomyomas. Fibroids are distinct in sizes, shapes, and locations. Some fibroids are situated in the uterus in some women while some fibroids are on the outer surface or within the wall of the uterus or even have an attachment to the uterus by a structure that resembles a stem.

Fibroids are in variant sizes such as pea-sized, small, round, and big that is more than 5-6 inches in width. As these fibroids develop, they deform the inner and outer part of the uterus. Often, fibroids can increase their size to occupy the abdomen or pelvis.

It is possible for a woman to have a single fibroid or many fibroids of different sizes. It is tough to differentiate if these fibroids grow individually or in groups but they can stay as small growths in the body before increasing their sizes suddenly or maintain a steady growth as they remain in the body over a specific period.

Causes of Fibroids

Causes of Fibroids

Women who are within the age bracket of 30-40 years have fibroids. They are commonly seen in African American women as there are lesser reported cases of fibroids in white women. Their presence is felt at a younger age, and they have a record of developing rapidly in the bodies of African American women.

The real cause of fibroids has not been discovered. According to research, fibroids are growths that emanate from the misplaced cells available in the body before giving birth to a baby. The female hormones estrogen and progesterone have been identified to play a significant role in the development of fibroids. For example, the levels of these hormones can increase or reduce in the lifetime of a woman. Menopause plays a significant role in the reduction of estrogen in women as fibroids diminish as soon as the woman enters the menopause stage.

A big-sized fibroid has been identified as one of the significant factors that can cause abdomen swelling. A swollen abdomen will make a complete pelvic examination a complicated exercise. It has been observed that fibroids can cause infertility but other factors are also responsible for infertility among women. Experts have suggested that proper examination must be conducted before ascertaining fibroids as the obstacle causing infertility among women. In cases where the fibroid is confirmed as the real cause of the situation, most of the women who are diagnosed and treated were able to become pregnant.

The development of fibroids can be significantly influenced by the use of birth control pills that comprise estrogen. Here are some of the warning signs of fibroids that you must look out for:

  • Inconsistency in menstrual cycle
  • Extended menstrual periods characterized by a heavy flow.
  • Experiencing menstrual pain (cramps)
  • Bleeding from Vagina after completion of the menstrual cycle.
  • Anemia as a result of blood loss
  • Pain
  • Sharp pain in the abdomen and the lower back part
  • Feeling pain during the sexual intercourse
  • Experiencing complications while urinating or frequent urination.
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation and rectal pain
  • Cases of miscarriages
  • Infertility
  • Increased size of the uterus and abdomen

Though these symptoms could be signs of other ailments in your body, it is essential to consult the doctor as soon as you notice any of the indicators mentioned above. Some fibroids are harmless and may not show any sign. They are often discovered when there is a regular pelvic check or examinations for other ailments.

DIAGNOSIS

DIAGNOSIS

A routine pelvic check will expose the early signs of fibroids, but other tests will reveal more information about fibroids.

  • Mtrasonography utilizes sound waves for the creation of a picture of the uterus and other pelvic organs.
  • Hysteroscopy entails the use of a slender tool, the Hystero-scope to view the inner part of the uterus. This device is implanted into the body through the vagina and the opening part of the uterus which is the cervix. This process offers the medical doctor to have a more unobstructed view of the fibroids in the uterine cavity.
  • Hysterosalpingol{l’aphy is a unique X-ray test used for the detection of the malformed changes in the size and structure of the fallopian tubes and the uterus.
  • Sonohysterop-aphy entails the process by which fluid is placed into the uterus through the cervix. The method of Ultrasonography is employed to expose the inner part of the uterus. Placing liquid will make the uterine lining clearer.
  • Laparoscopy is the process of using a slender apparatus called the laparoscope to enable the physician has a clear picture of the inner region of the abdomen. Most often, the device is placed through a minor cut below or through the navel. With the help of the laparoscope, the physician can view the fibroids on the outer part of the uterus.
  • Examples of imaging tests like computed tomography scans and magnetic resonance image can be helpful. You can make use of these tests to monitor the development of fibroids over a specific period.
Treatment

Treatment

Small-sized fibroids are not known to cause trouble for women and are visible when women are approaching the menopause age. These types of fibroids do not need treatment. If you notice some of these indications, you may need to consult your doctor to acquire treatment. These signs include;

  • Presence of an ovarian tumor and doubt about the real identity of the problem.
  • Experiencing painful menstrual periods that prevent you from completing your daily tasks.
  • Bleeding in between the menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Pain in the pelvic region
  • Increased growth of the fibroid in the body

Fibroids can be treated by utilizing different methods, but your choice of treatment must be determined by you and your physician as he or she is the medical personnel who understand the size and the positioning of the fibroids in your body system.

Fibroid Complications

It is essential to understand that most fibroids are not harmful, but you cannot overrule the appearance of slight difficulties. Those fibroids connected to the uterus by a stem may twist and be a source of pain, fever or nausea. The fibroids that have swift development can also cause pain.

Medications

Medications

Employing the use of drugs may serve as a temporary solution for women with fibroids. Use of medications can help the patients lessen the heavy flow of blood and pause the pains experienced during the menstrual cycle. However, drugs cannot inhibit the development of fibroids in the body as surgery will be required to make a lasting correction of the anomaly. Here are some of the medications that can be utilized to ease the pain caused by fibroids;

  • Use of birth control pills and other forms of hormonal birth control techniques: Making use of these drugs help in regulating the heavy flow of blood and painful menstrual cycles. A significant disadvantage of this method is that it may increase the size of the fibroids. Some women have recorded beneficial effects of this method of hormonal contraception.
  • Use of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists: These pills have the power to stop the menstrual cycle and lessen the size of fibroids. Most often, these medications are exploited before the commencement of the surgical procedures to alleviate the possibility of bleeding. It is not a perfect solution also as its use comes with defects like vaginal dryness, bone loss, night sweats and osteoporosis. Experts advised that this medication must not be used for more than six months. There is a confirmed report that the fibroids in a woman will return to their former sizes once she stops the administration of the GnRH agonist.
  • Progestin-releasing intrauterine device: Women with fibroids that do not interfere with the inner region of the uterus can make use of this option. This method is effective for the reduction of severe bleeding, but it is a permanent cure for fibroids.
    Other methods are undergoing examination for the treatment of fibroids, and they are as follows:
MYOMECTOMY

MYOMECTOMY

This is the process of removing fibroids through surgical procedures which leaves the uterus in its place. The presence of uterus will enable a woman to bear children. If a woman conceives after the completion of the myomectomy process, there may be a need for a cesarean operation for the delivery of the child. One of the disadvantages of undergoing the myomectomy process is that it could cause internal damage that may result in infertility.

New fibroids may start their development, but surgery takes care of the existing fibroids. If there is an appearance of new fibroids after the surgical operation, you may need to go for another round of surgery.

The Myomectomy procedure can be carried out in various ways, and they are:

  • Laparotomy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Hysteroscopy

The location and size of the fibroids will determine the technique that will be exploited. Laparotomy entails the placement of a cut in the abdomen. The fibroids are taken off through the incision while the laparoscopy is used to see the inner part of the pelvic region. The medical personnel will insert other devices through another small incision to eliminate the fibroids.

Hysteroscopy entails the removal of fibroids that project into the cavity of the uterus. A resectoscope is implanted in the body through a device called hysteroscope in this process.

UTERINE ARTERY EMBOLIZATION

This process is characterized by the insertion of small particles into the uterine arteries. The responsibility of these particles is to halt the blood flow to the fibroids thereby making them diminish.

The method of hysterectomy is recommended for those with large fibroids that have defied other means of treatment. The uterus may have to be obliterated.

The resectoscope is a device that terminates fibroids with the aid of electricity or a laser beam. This technique is not capable of removing the fibroids situated in the deeper parts of the uterus wall, but it can be used to regulate the bleeding caused by fibroids. Staying in the clinic over the night may not be required.
There are specific risks associated with myomectomy, and they include exposure to infection and bleeding. The process of hysteroscopy may result in other issues linked to the use of fluid during the surgical process. It is the responsibility of your physician to give you a detailed analysis of the risks involved in the procedure.

ENDOMETRIA ABLATION

This method is used to terminate the uterus lining. It is usually recommended for women who are experiencing heavy menstrual periods and those with fibroids of sizes lesser than 3 centimeters. Various procedures are utilized to execute endometrial ablation process, and the two most prominent means are the heated balloon method and the microwave energy method. It is important to note that not all these factors have the power to treat fibroids.
The endometrial ablation has side effects such as exposure to infections and bleeding. The apparatus used for this procedure is meant for the destruction of the uterus lining as it may pass through the uterine wall or bowel which is a rare case. Conceiving after this procedure may be hard as most women who have undergone the process have not conceived.

UTERINE ARTERY EMBOLIZATION

This method entails the blocking of blood vessels to the uterus thereby prohibiting the movement of blood to the fibroids and stopping the fibroids from growing. A well-trained radiologist can conduct this procedure popularly known as UAE. It could be performed as an outpatient procedure, and it may require you spending a night in the hospital.

An incision is made in your groin region, and a catheter will be passed through the large artery until it gets to the smaller arteries that pump blood to the uterus. Particles are inserted through the catheter into those arteries; the duty of the particles is to terminate the flow of the blood to the fibroid which will inherently cause its withering. This method is more effective when there is more than one fibroid in the body system. The side effects of the procedure are most women experience cramps after the process, and some of them have fever or nausea. Medications can be used to take care of the signals; other defects could be uterine injury and infections.

Most women have been able to start their regular menstrual periods after the completion of the process. About 40% of women who have attained the age of 50 and above and utilized the UAE method could not have their menstruation after that.
Though the impact of UAE on future pregnancies is not confirmed, women who had undergone the process of UAE are more exposed to the danger of placenta issues while they are pregnant. Women who are still interested in conceiving may have to use other methods of treatment to remove fibroids.

HYSTERECTOMY

This is the method that necessitates the elimination of the uterus; the medical personnel may decide the removal of the ovaries. The uterus may be taken off through a cut in the abdomen or the vagina. The size of the fibroids plays a prominent role in the selection of the technique that will be used in the removal of the fibroids.
Anesthesia may be administered to you to ease the pain, or the regional anesthesia may be used to help you terminate the feelings of pain in the lower region of the body. This procedure may prompt you to wait in the clinic for more days after the completion of the surgical procedure.
You need hysterectomy when you notice these signs:

  • Persistent pain and abnormal bleeding
  • Presence of large fibroids
  • If your fibroids have defied other treatments

If your doctor suggests this procedure, he or she will offer you the issues associated with the operation such as the uterine lining disease. There is no possibility of conception after this procedure is conducted.

MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING-GUIDED ULTRASOUND SURGERY

This technique utilizes the application of ultrasound waves to terminate fibroids. The waves are fixed on the fibroids through the skin with the assistance of magnetic resonance imaging. Confirmed reports have shown that most women who have undergone the process do not show signs of the symptoms for at least a year. The process is still under examination to prove it as the best procedure that promises lasting reprieve.

In conclusion, uterine fibroids are growths that are commonly seen in women. Some of them are harmless while some fibroids need to be taken care of. If you notice uterine fibroids or have experienced its effects before, ensure you consult a medical doctor for a proper examination regularly. Engaging in consistent medical checkups will expose the symptoms of fibroids which will give you a hint of the best method to treat it.

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