What is uterine fibroid? A uterine fibroid is a cellular formation that develops either inside the uterus, outside the uterus or on the wall of the uterus. Uterine fibroid is a benign, i.e. non-cancerous, fibroid tumor.
Over time the uterine fibroid grows and can change its shape, location and even influence the patient’s symptoms. In addition, it can even cause the uterus to change shape.
Uterine fibroids do NOT develop before the onset of the menstrual cycle, as they are impossible in girls at puberty.
Uterine fibroid is a medical condition that affects at least one in three women in Romania. According to some studies carried out in our country, 40% of women under 35 suffer from uterine fibroids, and women around 50 years old are affected by uterine fibroids in up to 80%. This disease affects women both physically, but especially emotionally and psychologically, altering the quality of women’s lives.
Uterine fibroids occur mainly in fertile women between the ages of 30 and 40.
What causes uterine fibroids?
Hormonal disorders favor the development of uterine fibroids. Once formed, uterine fibroids continue to grow under the influence of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body produces more oestrogen, but after the menopause, oestrogen production decreases considerably.
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
The symptoms of uterine fibroids are not noticeable as soon as they begin to form, but later, when the cell formation grows so much that it causes major changes in the patient’s body and life.
What are the risk factors for developing uterine fibroids?
- As women get older, they are more prone to uterine fibroids.
- Family history is also a deciding factor if there are cases of uterine fibroids in the family.
- Obesity favors the development of uterine fibroids.
- Ethnicity also influences the occurrence of uterine fibroids as black women are more affected by uterine fibroids than Caucasian women.
Uterine fibroids and sex life
Sexual activity is one of the signs of a healthy lifestyle because it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, develops smell, helps maintain good physical shape and reduces pain. Uterine fibroids are not one of the sexually transmitted diseases, and studies so far have shown that hormonal fluctuations, particularly those of oestrogen and progesterone, are responsible for the development of fibroids.
Our recommendation is to consult your gynecologist for any unpleasant sensations you experience during sexual intercourse, because a consultation with your specialist doctor and a trans-vaginal ultrasound will dispel the cause of the discomfort.
When do we go to the gynecologist or internal medicine doctor?
It is recommended that women over the age of 30 have a specialist gynecological check-up every 6 months or at most annually. However, if the symptoms become noticeable before the date on which the patient is due to see the specialist doctor, she should see the gynecologist immediately for further investigations. The passage of time is to the patient’s disadvantage when medical problems begin to appear, whatever they may be.
It can be symptomatic or asymptomatic. When uterine fibroids are symptomatic, the clues may be as follows:
- Abdominal pain;
- Increase in the circumference of the abdomen;
- Abdominal pressure;
- Menstrual cycle disturbance;
- Prolonged menstrual cycle;
- Bleeding outside the menstrual cycle;
- Anemia caused by abnormal bleeding;
- severe menstrual pain;
- Pain during sexual intercourse;
- Frequent urination;
- Urinary incontinence;
- Kidney blockage, in advanced cases of uterine fibroids and if the fibroid presses on the urinary tract;
- Urethral blockage, in rare and advanced cases of uterine fibroids;
- Intestinal transit may be disturbed;
- Infertility or miscarriage, in the case of an already formed pregnancy.
- Uterine fibroid is also called leiomyoma or just myoma and is estrogen-dependent and develops on estrogen.
- One of the most common pelvic tumors is uterine fibroid.
- Treatment for this condition is prescribed depending on the type, size and location of the uterine fibroid.
- Uterine fibroids are detected after a gynecological check-up and an MRI scan is used to determine the type of fibroid and the most appropriate treatment option.
- Uterine fibroids are NOT life-threatening, but they affect the quality of life of women and their physical, emotional and psychological state, so it is recommended to treat them early.
What investigations are done if the doctor suspects a uterine fibroid?
One or more of the following investigations are usually carried out in the case of uterine fibroids:
- Gynecological consultation, find out more in the Gynecology section of our website;
- Pelvic ultrasound;
- Transvaginal ultrasound;
- Hystero-sonogram confirming the presence of one or more uterine fibroids;
- Blood tests;
- Laparoscopy also confirms the presence of one or more uterine fibroids;
- Various additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.
How is uterine fibroid treated?
Although, in general, uterine fibroids are harmless and most of the time they are not painful and they shrink or completely recede after menopause, in severe cases when they alter the patient’s health and quality of life, uterine fibroids can be treated as follows:
- Menstruation can be carried out medically with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and oral contraceptives, if the uterine fibroid is not particularly severe.
When to operate on uterine fibroids
It can be removed surgically in the case of common uterine fibroids, which do not present any particular risks. If the patient wants to have a child, pregnancy is indicated immediately after the fibroid is removed as it may recur. The operation is called myomectomy and can be performed classically or laparoscopically.
The entire uterus may be removed in the case of severe and multiple fibroids. The operation is called a hysterectomy and can be performed classically or laparoscopically. Hysterectomy is the only operation that prevents the recurrence of uterine fibroids, but in this case pregnancy becomes impossible, which is why it is recommended for women who are already mothers, have entered menopause or no longer want children.
The right treatment is chosen by the specialist together with the patient, depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s priorities. Find out all about laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Can uterine fibroids be prevented?
Unfortunately, uterine fibroids CANNOT be prevented.
How long does it take to recover from myomectomy?
Recovery from myomectomy is fairly quick whether the surgery is endoscopic, hysteroscopic, laparoscopic or classic. In a few days the patient can resume her normal activities, but sexual life can be resumed after about 4 weeks after surgery.
How long does the recovery time after hysterectomy last?
In this case recovery depends on the method of uterine removal: classic or laparoscopic surgery. Normal life can be resumed in a few days if the patient is not in major pain. However, sustained physical exertion should be avoided in the first weeks after surgery.
After hysterectomy the menstrual cycle stops, but this does not induce menopause, as hormonal functions are still active. Only if the hysterectomy is accompanied by an adnexectomy, i.e. removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes, does menopause occur. In this case, hormonal substitutes are indicated, which can regulate the symptoms of severe menopause.
Once the uterus has been removed, the patient can resume sexual activity after at least 4 weeks and at most 2 months.
Is uterine fibroids fatal?
Uterine fibroid is NOT fatal, but it affects the quality of life of women and their physical, emotional and psychological state, that is why it is recommended to be treated early!