WHAT ARE FIBROIDS?
Uterus (womb) is made up of Endometrium (inner lining) & Myometrium (muscular
wall). Fibroid is an abnormal growth of cells in the myometrium (see pic). The term
"fibroid" is misleading. The cells are not fibrous; they are composed of
abnormal muscle cells. Uterine fibroids are almost always benign.
SEX OR AGE MOST AFFECTED
Fibroids affect 20% to 40% of all women over 35. They don't develop
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Most often no symptoms .
- More frequent menstruation
frequently associated with large clots and discomfort. (Polymenorrhoea)
- Increased menstrual flow and discomfort. (Menorrhagia)
- Bleeding between periods. (Metrorrhagia)
- Painful sexual intercourse or bleeding
- Anemia (weakness, fatigue and paleness).
- Feelings of pressure on the urinary bladder or rectum, if large.
- Feeling of a lump in the lower abdomen.
Unknown; however, fibroids may be hereditary. Some studies indicate
- Women with fibroids may have higher levels of the human growth hormone.
- Birth-control pills, especially those with large amounts of estrogen, may stimulate the
growth of fibroid tumors.
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Use of oral contraceptives.
- Genetic factors.
HOW TO PREVENT
Cannot be prevented at present.
- Most often a chance diagnosis on a routine pelvic ultrasonography.
- Menstrual abnormality and physical exam by a doctor.
change in the fibroid tumor (occurs in less than 0.5%). This rare complication is usually
signaled by very rapid growth.
is not warranted prior to menopause,
these tumors may decrease in size without treatment after menopause.
Fibroids can often be removed surgically without removing the entire uterus. The
ability to conceive continues as long as the uterus remains. In cases
where family is complete or in elderly women total removal of uterus (hysterectomy) is recommended.
- If your doctor recommends surgery,
ask for a full explanation and discussion before making a decision. Fibroids are generally
removed surgically if they cause excessive bleeding, are growing fast, produce pressure
symptoms or interfere with conception
- Record dates of bleeding
and number of pads used each day.
- NO medical treatment. If you have a small fibroid, don't take contraceptive pills with a
high estrogen content. Estrogen may cause fibroids to enlarge. Consider other forms of
contraception, such as a diaphragm, cervical cap, IUD, condom, or contraceptive foam,
sponge or jelly.
- Your doctor may prescribe iron supplements if you are anemic from excessive blood loss.
No special diet.
CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY, IF
- You have abnormal menstrual flow.
- A fibroid has already been diagnosed, and symptoms become more severe.
- You saturate a pad more often than once an hour.