Uterine Fibroid is the most common disease which is developed in about 20 to 80 percent of women by the age of 50 whereas 35 percent of women are diagnosed with this before they reach menopause. Fibroids can make women feel very uncomfortable and often cause many complications depending on how serious is the case. In Pakistan, a large number of women are suffering from this disease. Among those, many of them are not even aware of this problem and hence are not able to get it treated resulting in their health deterioration.
What are Uterine Fibroids?
Fibroids, also known as uterine fibroids or leiomyomas, are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. These growths are composed of muscle and fibrous tissue and can vary in size, ranging from small, barely noticeable nodules to large masses that can distort the shape of the uterus. Fibroids can develop within the uterine wall (intramural), on the outer surface of the uterus (subserosal), or inside the uterine cavity (submucosal).
While many women with fibroids may not experience any symptoms, others may have:
Menstrual Problems: Heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged periods, and irregular menstrual cycles.
Pelvic Pain and Pressure: Fibroids can cause discomfort, pelvic pain, or a feeling of fullness or pressure in the lower abdomen.
Frequent Urination: Large fibroids can press against the bladder, leading to frequent urination.
Difficulty Getting Pregnant: Depending on their size and location, fibroids can interfere with fertility and lead to difficulties in conceiving or carrying a pregnancy.
Who Gets Fibroids?
There are some factors that can increase the risk of getting fibroids in women. Among these, age plays a significant role. Women in their 30s and 40s are most likely to develop fibroids. After they hit menopause, fibroids shrink. Another factor is family history. If your mother had fibroids, then your risk of getting it is three times greater than average. Obesity in women can also increase the risk of developing fibroids.
Causes of Fibroids
The exact cause of fibroids is not fully understood, but they are influenced by hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone. Factors such as genetics, family history, and hormonal imbalances can contribute to their development.
Symptoms of Fibroids
Many women don’t show any symptoms of having fibroids. On the other hand, according to the National Institute of Health, women who suffer from fibroids start having heavy bleeding and pain during periods and extended duration of their menstruation cycle (more than 8 days). If not monitored, it can cause severe abdominal pain and frequent urination.
A fibroid is usually diagnosed during routine checkups with your doctor, where the doctor examines the uterus and ovaries. In other cases, a fibroid can be diagnosed with the help of various tests; ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Hysteroscopy, and Laparoscopy.
Treatment of Fibroids
Treatment for fibroids depends on the size, location, and severity of symptoms. Treatment options include medication, minimally invasive procedures (such as uterine artery embolization or myomectomy to remove the fibroids), or in more severe cases, a hysterectomy to remove the uterus.
Fibroids are typically benign (noncancerous) and often do not require treatment unless they are causing significant symptoms or fertility issues. If you suspect you have fibroids or are experiencing symptoms, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.
Surgery / Medication to treat Fibroids
Usually, doctors give medication to treat fibroid. Medicines can stop fibroid to grow, but cannot completely cure it. You will require surgery in a later stage of your life. There are two types of surgeries doctors recommend:
- Myomectomy: This type of surgery is done to remove fibroids without taking out the uterus. This surgery is advised to women who wish to have children after the treatment.
- Hysterectomy: This surgery is done when the size of fibroids is large and women are having severe health issues. As a result of this surgery, fibroids are removed along with the uterus. Women are not able to have children after undergoing a hysterectomy.
What happens if fibroids are not treated?
You should get yourself checked as soon as you start noticing symptoms of fibroids. In a few cases, fibroids can grow in size resulting in abdomen swelling if not treated in time and hence need to be removed through surgery. Untreated fibroids could lead to infertility in some cases but should be checked in detail before coming to any such conclusion.
What is an intramural fibroid?
An intramural fibroid is a type of uterine fibroid that grows within the muscular wall of the uterus. Unlike subserosal fibroids (which grow on the outer wall) or submucosal fibroids (which protrude into the uterine cavity), intramural fibroids are located within the uterine wall itself. They can vary in size and may cause symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, or pressure on nearby organs. Treatment options for intramural fibroids range from observation to medical management and surgical procedures, depending on their size, location, and impact on a person’s health.
Transparent Hands is empowering people to help others enjoy happy and healthy lives. It is a Global Crowdfunding platform that helps in conducting free-of-cost surgeries of underprivileged people in Pakistan. It has been able to conduct surgeries of over 200 patients so far out of which more than 15 were women who were suffering from uterine fibroids. Most of these women had undergone Hysterectomy and had their uterus removed completely. The throbbing abdominal pain and heavy bleeding are now a bygone memory of their lives.