Updated: Sep 21, 2022
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are benign (noncancerous) tumors that grow in the uterus. They are the most common type of tumor in women and can occur at any age, but are most common in women aged 30 to 50. Uterine fibroids can vary in size from very small to very large. Some fibroids may not cause any symptoms, while others may cause heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, pelvic pain, or problems getting pregnant. Uterine fibroids are not cancer and do not increase a woman's risk of cancer.
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
The symptoms of uterine fibroids vary depending on the size and location of the fibroids. Some women with uterine fibroids do not have any symptoms, while others may have symptoms such as:
Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
Pain during sex
Difficulty getting pregnant
How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?
They are the most common type of tumor found in women and account for about 30% of all gynecologic cancers. They are also more common in African American women and in women who are obese. There is no single test that can definitively diagnose uterine fibroids. However, if your doctor suspects that you have uterine fibroids, he or she will likely order a pelvic ultrasound to measure the size and shape of your uterus and to look for any evidence of tumors. If a pelvic ultrasound reveals evidence of uterine fibroids, your doctor may also order an MRI to get a more detailed view of the tumors. While uterine fibroids are not cancerous, they can cause some serious health problems, so it is important to get them diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
How are uterine fibroids treated?
The treatment of uterine fibroids depends on the size and location of the fibroids, as well as the woman's symptoms. Most uterine fibroids do not require treatment, but if they cause symptoms, there are several treatment options available. These include:
Watchful waiting Medications, such as birth control pills or hormones, to reduce the size of the fibroid and relieve symptoms
Surgery to remove the fibroid
Radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat to destroy the fibroid
Watchful waiting is often recommended for small, asymptomatic uterine fibroids. If the fibroids cause symptoms, medications may be recommended. If the fibroids are large or cause other problems, surgery may be recommended.
Types of uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that originate from the smooth muscle cells of the uterus. These tumors can be as small as a pea or as large as a grapefruit. Uterine fibroids are the most common type of tumor found in women and are typically discovered during a pelvic exam. There are three main types of uterine fibroids:
Submucosal fibroids: These fibroids grow just under the lining of the uterus. They can cause heavy menstrual bleeding and cramping.
Intramural fibroids: These fibroids grow in the muscular wall of the uterus. They can cause pain during menstruation, pressure on the bladder or rectum, and difficulty getting pregnant.
Subserosal fibroids: These fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus. They can cause pain in the lower back and abdomen, and difficulty getting pregnant.
Causes of uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are most common in women ages 30 to 50. The exact cause of this overgrowth is unknown, but it is thought to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There are several different types of uterine fibroids, but the most common type is the intramural fibroid. This type of fibroid grows in the muscular wall of the uterus.
What are the options to get pregnant for women with uterine fibroids?
There are several options for getting pregnant for women with uterine fibroids. Some women may need to have surgery to remove the fibroids before they can get pregnant. Other women may be able to get pregnant with the fibroids in place. Some of the options for getting pregnant with uterine fibroids include:
Taking medicine to help you get pregnant.
Using fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Having surgery to remove the fibroids.
Trying to get pregnant naturally. Each woman's situation is different, so talk to your doctor about the best option for you.
What are the medical treatments for women with uterine fibroids who want to get pregnant?
The most common medical treatments are either surgery or medication. Surgery- There are a few different surgeries that can be done to treat uterine fibroids. The most common surgery is a hysterectomy, which is the removal of the uterus. Other surgeries that can be done are a myomectomy, which is the removal of the fibroids, and a uterine artery embolization, which is a procedure that blocks the arteries that supply blood to the fibroids.
Medication- There are a few different medications that can be used to treat uterine fibroids. The most common medications are birth control pills and GnRH agonists. Birth control pills are pills that are taken every day to prevent pregnancy. GnRH agonists are medications that are taken to decrease the size of the fibroids.
What are the surgical treatments for women with uterine fibroids who want to get pregnant?
Myomectomy is the most common surgical treatment for women who want to get pregnant and have uterine fibroids. This surgery removes the fibroids from the uterus but leaves the uterus intact. This is the preferred surgical treatment for women who want to have children. Another surgical treatment for women who have uterine fibroids is a hysterectomy. This surgery removes the uterus. A hysterectomy is not the preferred surgical treatment for women who want to have children.
What are the non-surgical treatments for women with uterine fibroids who want to get pregnant?
There are two non-surgical treatments for women with uterine fibroids who want to get pregnant: uterine artery embolization (UAE) and magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS). Uterine artery embolization is a procedure that blocks the arteries that supply blood to the fibroids. This procedure is not recommended for women who want to have children. Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery is a procedure that uses ultrasound waves to destroy fibroids.
There are a few different ways that a woman with uterine fibroids can get pregnant. The two most common methods are in vitro fertilization (IVF) or a surgical procedure called a myomectomy. IVF is a process where the woman's eggs are removed from her body and then fertilized with the man's sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized eggs are then placed back into the woman's uterus to grow and develop. A myomectomy is a surgery where the fibroids are removed from the uterus. This surgery can also be used to help a woman get pregnant if she has not been able to get pregnant naturally. These options include using donor eggs or using a surrogate mother. Each of these options has its own set of risks and benefits. A woman should talk to her doctor to figure out which option is best for her.