You may sometimes experience painful periods or a heavy flow and may also constantly get pelvic pain. All these symptoms could be from fibroids. It is essential to know what fibroids are and how you can treat them with the help of a gynecologist.
In this article, Dr. Hrishikesh Pai discusses what fibroids and their types and symptoms are.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are abnormal growth or tumors inside or on a woman’s uterus walls. Sometimes these can become very large and cause a lot of abdominal pain and heavy menstrual flow. Other times, there would not be any symptoms at all. The growth is generally non-cancerous.
Fibroids are also called:
Around 50% to 80% of women have fibroids, but they don’t realize it because some fibroids don’t show any symptoms.
Most fibroids can be treated using medications. It would be best to visit an IVF doctor to treat the fibroids. Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, one of the best gynecologists in Mumbai, and his team have treatments available at their clinic, Budget Fertility Center.
Types of Fibroids
The type of fibroid depends on its location in the uterus, says Dr. Pai, one of the best gynecologists in Mumbai.
There are three main types of fibroids:
- Subserosal fibroids: It is the most common type of fibroids. These grow outside the uterus.
- Intramural fibroids: These fibroids grow inside the muscular wall of the uterus.
- Subserosal fibroids: These fibroids are located on the outside wall of the uterus.
- Pedunculated fibroids: When subserosal fibroids develop a stem-like base. They are known as pedunculated fibroids.
Causes of Fibroids
The causes of fibroids are not known. It happens with women of their reproductive age, says Dr Pai from the Budget Fertility Center.
Research shows that the following factors could be responsible for fibroids:
- Hormonal Changes: Estrogen and progesterone are the hormones responsible for making your uterus line thicken every month during your period. They also seem to affect fibroid growth.
- Genetics: Research has found differences between normal cells and fibroids in the uterus.
- Other Growth Factors: Substances that help the body maintain tissues, like insulin, may affect fibroid growth.
- Extracellular matrix (ECM): ECM is the material making the cells stick together. It increases fibroids and makes them fibrous.
Most women don’t feel any symptoms. Those who do, their symptoms differ by size, the number of fibroids, and location of fibroids, says Dr. Pai.
The common symptoms of fibroids include:
- Heavy menstrual flow
- Pelvic pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty in emptying the bladder
- Leg ache
Who is at risk of getting Fibroids?
You are at risk of getting fibroids if you have any of the risk factors mentioned below:
- Family history of fibroids
- Age 30 or older
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Use of birth control
Your doctor may find out if you have fibroids by conducting a pelvic exam. If the shape of your uterus feels irregular or more extensive, you may have to get a few tests done, such as:
- Ultrasound: A technician will place a device inside your vagina or on your abdomen to get the images of your uterus. The gynecologist will then see the fibroids and how large they are.
- Lab tests: The gynecologist may tell you to get blood tests done to determine if you have fibroids.
- MRIs: MRIs are done to determine the size and number of the fibroids.
Most fibroids do not have any symptoms, and they disappear independently. These do not need any treatment.
If fibroids are causing any symptoms, you can take medical help to treat them.
The doctor will provide the treatment based on the number of fibroids and their location. You can treat some fibroids with just medications.
Fibroids can vary in size. They can be as small as a grain or as big as a grapefruit. If the fibroids are larger, the doctor can remove them surgically.
Sometimes fibroids do not show any symptoms. You wouldn’t even know that you have fibroids. It is essential to get regular checkups done at your gynecologist’s office. By doing this, the doctor can see the size of the fibroids and their type. After that, they can decide the treatment for it.