A fibroid is a mass of tissue formed in the pelvis. It is non-cancerous and benign. It may be formed in any part of the pelvis, but, is seen most prominently in the uterus. The fibroid formed in the uterus is known as uterine fibroid tumor. Fibroid tumors are found only in women, and that too after puberty. They commonly occur in women between the age group 25 to 35 years. They are rarely found in women who are below 20 years of age. After formation, fibroid tumors constantly keep on growing. During menopause, the fibroid stops growing and sometimes even disappears.
The exact cause of fibroid tumor is unknown. However, doctors believe that malfunction or abnormal function of estrogen (a female hormone) can result in the growth of fibroids. Therefore, if a woman takes contraceptives or supplements containing estrogen, the chances of fibroid growth is higher. Similarly, during pregnancy, the female body naturally produces excess estrogen which can also result in the formation of fibroids.
Excessive bleeding is the classic symptom of fibroid tumors. Heavy bleeding is observed during all the 4-5 days of menstruation. It is also seen that the periods last longer than usual. Anemia can develop due to excess blood loss. Sometimes, bleeding or spotting is also observed between two menstrual cycles.
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Pain in hips
In some cases, infertility can be one of the signs or complications of fibroid tumor. Presence of fibroid does not directly affect pregnancy but can cause problems in it. If the fibroid is located in the uterus, it can occupy the space meant for the baby. On the other hand, fibroids developed in other parts of the female reproductive system can even cause an obstacle in the path of the fertilized egg reaching its proper place. Most of the time, fibroid tumors are small in size and disappear at menopause. However, they need to be treated if they start causing problems.
The location and size of the fibroid tumor and the age of the woman play an important role in deciding the treatment method to be adopted for fibroid tumors. If the fibroid develops during the time of menopause (between 43-45 years of age), there is hardly any necessity to treat it as it disappears after menopause. On the other hand, fibroids that are very small in size do not usually need emergency treatment. They can be treated with medications. On the other hand, certain fibroid tumors are large in size and are located at complicated places. Therefore, they need to be treated with the help of surgical procedures.
Myomectomy is the surgical procedure that is used for the removal of tumors. Although there are chances of blood loss, this is an effective technique. It is effective in treating multiple fibroids. If a woman develops a fibroid at an early age, there are higher chances of tumor regrowth. However, multiple Myomectomy can lead to problems and complications.
Another surgery to treat fibroid tumors is hysterectomy. It is the complete removal of the uterus. Hysterectomy is undertaken only when the tumor creates problems with other organs due to its large size. Hysterectomy is also considered as an effective treatment for fibroid tumors. Sometimes, as an alternative for surgery, certain drugs are also prescribed.
In order to make the treatment effective, it is essential to identify the symptoms as early as possible. There are no preventive measures to avoid fibroids. However, a woman should undertake regular checkup in order to spot and diagnose such abnormalities and treat them as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: This article is meant only to provide information. It is not to be substituted for medical advice and consultation.