What Are Fibroids?
Fibroids are classified as growths within the muscle of the uterus. Fibroids are non cancerous and can vary drastically in size and spread. There are three main types of fibroids, subserosal and intramural. Subeserosal fibroids are found in the uterus’ outer layer, while intramural fibroids are located inside of the uterine wall. Submucousal fibroids are found on the inside of the uterine cavity. 95% of fibroids are of the intramural and subserosal types while the rest are classified as submucousal. Uterine fibroids are generally diagnosed by an ultrasound or by a pelvic exam. Studies show that almost 80% of women will develop fibroids by the age of 50. African-American women are reported to have more fibroids than Caucasian women, averaging 9.9 and 4.5 respectively, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Signs and Symptoms of Fibroids
Signs and symptoms of fibroids can vary depending on the individual. Some women might experience several symptoms, while other may not experience any symptoms at all. Some of the more common symptoms are:
- Pain in the abdomen and lower back region
- A feeling of pressure on the bladder or rectum
- Constant need to urinate
- Distended Stomach
Another very common symptom are changes in menstruation. Fibroids can cause pain and excessive bleeding during menstruation. About 46% of women diagnosed with fibroids reported experiencing heavier bleeding during their period.
Depending on the size and placement of the fibroid, patient age, and desire to have children, there are several uterine fibroids treatment options available for fibroids. To help treat the pain symptoms associated with fibroids, NSAIDs and other pain management medications are employed. There are also medications that can help with excessive bleeding as well, most of them being hormones to control menstruation. The most common method of treating the fibroids is by performing surgical uterine fibroid removal , otherwise known as a hysterectomy. There are newer noninvasive treatments for removal of uterine fibroids. By using ultrasound technology doctors are able to heat and destroy the fibroid mass without affecting surrounding tissue.