Fibroid Awareness Month: July
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths on or in the muscle layer of the uterus (womb). They can grow are singular benign tumours or together as a cluster.
What are the different types of fibroids?
There are three different types of fibroids, due to the area in the uterus they are in. These are:
Situated within the wall of the uterus. This is the most common type of fibroid
Situated under the lining of the uterus.
Situated on the outer wall of the uterus and usually causes no symptoms until it grows large enough to cause interference to adjacent organs.
What causes fibroids?
It is not known what causes fibroids, however you can be at a higher risk of having them if are of child bearing age, afro-caribbean or overweight.
After menopause, fibroids tend to shrink due to the lack of hormones in the body.
What are the symptoms?
Some women would not know they have fibroids. However, some women experience:
Prolonged and heavy bleeding or painful periods
Bleeding between periods
Feeling "full" and bloating
Frequent passing of urine
Lower back pain
What are the side affects of fibroids?
As well as the above symptoms, Fibroids can cause issues with:
Large fibroids can affect fertility by obstructing the fallopian tubes, distorting the shape of the uterus, affecting the lining of the uterus and/or preventing sperm from reaching the uterus.
If fibroids are situated in the lower part of the uterus, they can block the birth canal resulting in a caesarean being needed for delivery.
There is also a risk of miscarriage when there are many fibroids.
It's rare, but there is a small chance a fibroid can develop into cancer.
Urinary Tract Infection
If a fibroid puts pressure on the bladder it can lead to a urinary tract infection.
How are fibroids diagnosed?
Initially you may have a pelvic examination. The following scans can confirm diagnoses:
Either an abdominal or transvaginal scan may be used. An abdominal scan is when gel is applied to your stomach then the probe pressed over the abdomen to get an image. A transvaginal scan is when a wand is inserted into the vagina to produce an image.
You will have either local or general aesthetic so you don't feel any pain, and a tiny telescope attached to a camera will be inserted in to vagina to take a detailed examination of the uterus.
You will have general aesthetic and a small cut in the abdomen will be made. A small tube with a camera will be inserted through the incision to enable the surgeon to take a detailed look
What are the treatments for fibroids?
If you are nearing menopause then the fibroids will most likely shrink on their own. However, if you are younger the fibroids may grow and cause pain.
There is no medicine that will shrink a fibroid but you can take anti inflammatory medicine or progesterone to slow down the growth of the lining of your womb.
If these do not help, you may be offered a hysterectomy. This is the removal of your womb and is the most effective way to remove the growths.
If you want to have children in your future then a myomectomy can be considered, depending on the size of your fibroids. This is keyhole surgery to the uterus to remove the fibroids from the wall lining but it doesn't guarantee they won't return.
How do I book a consultation?
Appointments are available via private medical insurance or paying for yourself. Click here for the most up to date self funding fees and for private medical insurance information.