By Dr Zeenobiyah McGowan Ph.D.
What are Fibroids?
A diagnosis of uterine fibroids can be a scary thing, but it does not necessarily mean what you think. Fibroids are tumors, but they are almost always non-cancerous. Ninety-seven percent of the time, they do not even have an impact on fertility. It is a common problem that affects many women. They are most likely to be found in your childbearing years (20s and 30s) but they can be diagnosed at any time. It is, however, rare for this diagnosis to take place after menopause.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors that can be as small as a jelly bean or as large as a soccer ball. These tumors grow from the muscular and fibrous tissue of the uterus. You may have heard fibroids referred to as uterine fibroids, myomas or fibromyomas. All of these terms refer to the same type of mass. However, they are labeled differently based on their location. And based on their location, they may also have a different impact on your body and health.
Intramural fibroids develop within the muscle wall of the womb. They are the most commonly diagnosed type, and unfortunately, they also have a tendency to be painful and cause heavy periods. This is also one type of fibroid that may cause infertility, but it is not the most common cause of fibroid-related fertility issues.
Submucosal fibroids grow just a bit deeper under the uterine lining. When they are large, these tumors can enlarge the uterus and block the fallopian tubes. Most women who suffer from fibroid-related infertility have submucosal fibroids. They are such an issue with fertility because they can disrupt the endometrium (uterine lining).
Subserosal fibroids actually grow outward from the uterine wall into the pelvic cavity. This type of fibroid can be dangerous because it can put pressure on your organs. If you have subserosal fibroids, you may experience pelvic pain and pressure.
How are Fibroids Treated?
Fibroids are always treated based on the individual situation and the danger they pose. As long as they are not causing medical issues, most doctors will recommend keeping an eye on these tumors before taking action. If they are not currently causing problems, such as bleeding, pain or infertility, the doctor will probably ask you to look out for specific symptoms and not take any other action. Just because you have a fibroid does not mean it will grow into a monster-sized tumor. Some fibroids do not grow at all and most others grow slowly over time.
There are some cases when your doctor will want to take swift action to treat your fibroids. If she finds they are growing quickly or causing problems, she may prescribe medication to help shrink them. This could also help alleviate any pain they may be causing.
In very serious cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. Still, there are options here based on your situation. Your doctor may recommend a non-invasive surgery or a minimally invasive procedure to eliminate or reduce the size of your uterine fibroids.
Dr Zeenobiyah McGowan Ph.D., an expert on women’s health and helping couples conceive naturally. Dr McGowan is a mother of one beautiful girl. She is editor-in-chief for Ovulationcalendar.com, also founded Impact Humanity, a charity which helps under privileged children get the basic necessities like food and education in Kenya.