- Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop from layers of the uterus.
- In most cases, fibroids are very small and are left unnoticed.
- There are several treatment options available to treat uterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop from the fibrous and smooth muscle layers of the uterus. The size of these uterine leiomyomas vary in size and range from a small pea to that of a melon. It is a very common condition, and affects about 20 percent of women. Uterine fibroids are usually seen in women in between the ages of 30 years old and 50 years old. The risk of developing fibroids increases with obesity, but the actual cause of the condition is still unknown. In most cases, fibroids are very small and are left unnoticed. These fibroids normally shrink in size during menopause, as the levels of the hormone estrogen falls dramatically. Birth control pills, pregnancy, early menstruation and family history may all increase the risk of developing fibroids.
Uterine fibroids may not require any specific treatment in most cases, particularly if the symptoms or issues associated with it can be endured. If fibroids cause a number of health issues, many surgical and non-surgical treatment options are now available to treat the situation.
Several treatment options for uterine fibroids are as follows:
- Certain medications are recommended to control the symptoms, like heavy bleeding and pelvic pressure. Most of the oral medications just reduce the size of the fibroids, and do not remove them completely. Gonadotropin-releasing hormones are useful in blocking the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, that in turn, help to shrink the fibroids. Oral contraceptives are used to manage excessive bleeding, while non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are used to reduce the pain.
- Intra-uterine devices that release progestin are recommended to reduce the bleeding associated with the presence of fibroids in the uterus.
- Iron deficiency caused by excessive bleeding is often reduced by taking iron supplements.
- Myomectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove the fibroids without affecting the uterus. Many women who undergo myomectomy may have to go through other procedures later on, as there are chances of new fibroids growing within the uterus even after the surgery. Myomectomy is usually recommended for women who wish to have a child.
- Hysterectomy is used to remove the entire uterus and fibroids, and this procedure also prevents the recurrence of fibroids.
- Blood flow to the uterus and the fibroids are cut off, by injecting embolic agents into the arteries that supply the fibroids. This procedure is used to shrink the size of the fibroids and to alleviate the symptoms.
- In myolysis, electric current or laser beams are used to destroy the fibroids. It is also effective in reducing the size of blood vessels that supply the fibroids.