What Exactly is Fibroid Tumors?
Fibroid Tumors are the most regularly seen tumors of the feminine reproductive system. Fibroids, often known as uterine myomas, leiomyomas, or fibromas, are compact tumors that are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous combinatorial tissue that develop in the uterus.
Approximately between 20 to 50% women of reproductive age have fibroids, although not all are diagnosed. Some estimates state that up to 30 to 77 percent of women will develop fibroids sometime during their childbearing years, although only about one-third of these fibroids are large enough to be detected by a health care provider during a physical examination.
In more than 99 percent of fibroid cases, the tumors are benign (non-cancerous). These tumors are not associated with cancer and do not increase a woman’s risk for uterine cancer. They may range in proportions, from the size of a pea to the size of a softball or small grapefruit.
Types of Fibroid tumors
Fibroid tumors usually present in four different types: pedunculated, subserosal, intramural, submucosal.
Pedunculated fibroids are those extending from the uterus over a stalk. This kind of type of tumor may be found within the endometrial cavity or increasing outside of the uterus into the pelvis. These are generally the most easily removed tumors, and often the surgery can be performed through laparoscopy or hysteroscopy. The symptoms include pain or pressure in a specific area, or bleeding depending on where the tumor is located.
Subserosal are those fibroids located just below the exterior layer of the uterus. These are the tumors that are most easily accessible and are often removed via a simple or laparoscopic myomectomy. If allowed to increase in size, symptoms can include pelvic pain, lower back pain, urinary frequency, congestion, bloating and indigestion.
Intramural tumors are those located deep in the womb in the key body of the organ. These are the most frequent and the most difficult to remove, and are in charge of the maximum percentage of hysterectomies. These kinds of tumors can produce hemorrhage problems, belly pressure, and painful intercourse, in addition to all the symptoms listed above
Submucosal fibroids are those straight adjacent to the endometrial lining. These are the tumors mostly in charge of heavy menstrual bleeding. These tumors impinge on the endometrial cavity and will produce long heavy periods, aches, clots, and cervical pressure.
What cause fibroid tumors?
While it is not clearly known what causes fibroids, it is believed that each tumor develops from an aberrant muscle cell in the uterus, which multiplies rapidly because of the influence of estrogen. research and scientific experience point to these factors:
Genetic changes. A large number of fibroids contain changes in genes that differ from those in normal uterine muscle cells.
Hormones. Female and progesterone, two human hormones that stimulate development of the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle in preparation for pregnancy, look to promote the growth of fibroids. Fibroids contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine muscle cells do. Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause due to a decrease in hormone development.
Other growth factors. Chemicals that help the body maintain tissues, such as insulin-like growth factor, may affect fibroid growth.
Symptoms of Fibroids
Many women with fibroids don’t have any symptoms. In those that do, symptoms can be influenced by the location, size and number of fibroids. Some women who have fibroids have no symptoms, and have only gentle symptoms, while other women have more severe, troublesome symptoms. In women who have symptoms, the most frequent symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Heavy monthly bleeding
- Menstrual periods enduring more than a week
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty draining the bladder
- Backache or leg pains
How are fibroids clinically diagnosed?
Fibroids are most often found during a regular pelvic examination. his, along with an abdominal examination, may indicate a firm, irregular pelvic mass to the physician. In addition to a complete health background and physical and pelvic and/or abs assessment, diagnostic procedures for uterine fibroids may include:
- X-Ray . Electromagnetic energy used to produce images of bone and internal organs upon film.
- Transvaginal ultrasound (also called ultrasonography). An ultrasound test using a tiny device, called a transducer, that is placed in the vagina.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A non-invasive method that produces a two-dimensional view of an interior organ or structure.
- X-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes that uses dye and is often performed to rule out tubal obstruction.
- Visual examination of the canal of the cervix and the interior of the uterus using a viewing instrument (hysteroscope) inserted through the vagina.
- Endometrial biopsy. A procedure in which a sample of tissue is obtained through a tube which is inserted into the uterus.
- Blood test (to check for iron-deficiency anemia if heavy bleeding is caused by the tumor).