Fibroids, also known as “myomas” or “leiomyomas”, are the most common type of tumor found in women. They are made up of smooth muscle and connective tissue. Fibroids affect 25-50 % of woman and in most cases are benign. Fibroids can cause symptoms such as heavy periods, bleeding between periods, pelvic pain or pressure, and pressure on the bladder. In some cases, fibroids do not cause any symptoms at all. The exact cause of developing fibroids is unknown. Depending on the size of the fibroids, a physician may be able to feel them on a pelvic examination. In other cases, such as when the fibroids are very small, they must be diagnosed by pelvic ultrasound.
The type of procedure done depends on the patient’s goals- mainly, whether or not they still desire child bearing. Patients who have symptoms that may be indicative of fibroids should schedule an appointment with their gynecologist.
If the fibroids do not cause the patient any symptoms, most of the time they can be simply monitored by repeating a pelvic ultrasound once a year.
A more conservative procedure for those who wish to avoid major surgery is uterine artery embolization, a procedure in which the arteries supplying blood to the fibroids are cut off, decreasing blood supply and thus shrinking the fibroids.
If the fibroids are very large or causing significant symptoms, they must be removed surgically. This is either done by removing just the fibroids (myomectomy) or by removing the whole uterus (hysterectomy).
Dr. Simon Weiss, founder of Specialty in Obstetrics and Gynecology has compiled a team of the best obstetricians, and the best gynecologists from around the world.
Dr. Helen Spalding, Dr. Simon Weiss
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