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Most women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms

Uterine fibroids are tumors that develop in the uterus and they are non-cancerous in nature. They are made up of the same muscle fiber which makes the uterine wall.  These are generally semicircular or circular in shape. Most women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms. However, abnormal uterine bleeding is the most common symptom of a uterine fibroid. If the Uterine fibroids are near the uterine lining, or interfere with the blood flow to the lining, they can cause heavy periods, painful periods, prolonged periods or spotting between menses.

Fibroids are of varied shapes as well, they may be so tiny that could not be seen properly without a microscope, or are sometimes so big that they can fill the whole uterine cavity. Based on their location in the uterus the fibroids are classified into various types as shown below.

  • Myometrial – When the fibroids are located in the muscle wall of the uterus
  • Submucosal – This is when the fibroids are situates right below the surface of the uterine lining
  • Subserosal – This is when the fibroids are located beneath the lining membrane on the outside of uterus.
  • Pendunculated – When the tumours are occurring on a long stalk inside the uterine cavity or on outside of the uterus  

Women with excessive bleeding due to fibroids may develop iron deficiency in the later stages due to excess blood loss. Some Uterine fibroids can cause severe, localized pain. Fibroids can also cause a number of symptoms depending on their size, location within the uterus, and how close they are to adjacent pelvic organs. Some large fibroids can cause pressure, pelvic pain, pressure on the bladder with frequent or even obstructed urination, and pressure on the rectum with pain during defecation.

Causes and Incidence of Uterine Fibroids

The problem of fibroids usually occurs in women over 30 years of age, as many as 1 in every 5 women is affected with this ailment during the childbearing age i.e. post menstruation and before menopause. Though the exact cause of the disease is not known, but it seems to depend on the hormone estrogen as it has been found that till the time the women is menstruating the fibroid continues to grow slowly.

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

The common symptoms of uterine fibroids are as follows:

  • Abdominal fullness,
  • Gastric troubles
  • Constipation
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding 
  • Longer menstrual periods
  • Cramping and pain with periods
  • Sensation of pressure in lower abdomen
  • Pain during intercourse

Diagnosis of Uterine Fibroids

A thorough diagnosis is to be done to confirm the presence of Fibroids, as many times fibroids are mistaken for pregnancy, ovarian tumors, inflammation of fallopian tubes and uterine adenomyosis. Following needs to be done to confirm fibroids:

  • Physical examination of pelvic region which may show an unevenly shaped, lumpy, or enlarged uterus.
  • Trans-vaginal ultrasound
  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • Pelvic MRI
  • At times an endometrial biopsy or laparoscopy may be required to rule out cancer.

Treatment options for Uterine Fibroids

Treatment of fibroids in based on several factors including the age, general health and severity and type of the disease. Treatment may be different for women who are pregnant or if they require children in future.

Following are different treatment options:

1. Drug Therapy: This is mainly for the treatment of the symptoms of fibroids

  • Oral contraceptives to help control heavy periods
  • Intrauterine devices that releases Progestin hormone may be used to reduce heavy bleeding and pain
  • Iron supplements to treat anemia caused due to heavy periods or even to avoid the same.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for cramps or pain

2. Hormonal therapy: This therapy helps in shrinking the fibroids. This is a short term treatment done either before surgery to remove a fibroid or when a woman is expected to reach menopause soon.

3. Surgery: Following are the different surgical procedures done to cure fibroids

  • Hysteroscopic resection of fibroids: In this procedure a small camera and instrument is inserted trough the Cervix for removal of the fibroid tumours. This is done in women who have fibroids inside the uterine cavity.
  • Uterine artery embolization: Embolization is the method through which blood supply is stopped to the fibroid, as a result the fibroid shrinks and dies.
  • Myomectomy: This procedure is the best option for women who are planning to have children as it preserved fertility, this surgery removes the fibroids.
  • Hysterectomy: This is an invasive surgery usually the last treatment option, as it involves total removal of the uterus. It is used only if the disease is not cured by medicines and other surgical procedures.

Treatment for uterine fibroids in India

At our network women care hospitals in India, there are highly skilled and experienced gynecologists and laparoscopic surgeons to treat fibroids. The hospitals are world-class that have dedicated section and nurses for women care. Even the technology and the infrastructure used are procured keeping in mind the needs of women patients. In simple a women friendly environment is created in which the patient can freely talk to care givers and feel at home when at hospital. There are many treatment packages available to treat fibroids. These packages are affordable and you get options to choose. For more information on uterine fibroids treatment in India please write to us at medical@treatmentassistance.in or call +91 9900 244 323.

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