Women's Health Guide: All you need to know about cervical and uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. They are also called Leiomyomas or Myomas. Approximately 70% of women will develop fibroids in the uterus by the time they reach 45 years old, these tumours being the most common type found in the pelvic area. They can be symptomatic or asymptomatic. 

Cervical myomas, also known as cervical fibroids, are benign tumours mostly made up of muscle tissue. They are round in shape and located in the lower part of the uterus, which is called the cervix. These types of myomas are not common. They often occur with uterine fibroids. 

Types of Uterine Fibroid:

Uterine fibroids can be classified into four types based on their location within the uterus:

  • Subserosal fibroids, which are located under the outer surface of the uterus
  • Intramural fibroids, which are within the wall of the uterus
  • Submucosal fibroids, which are under the lining of the uterus
  • Pedunculated fibroids, which are attached to the uterus by a stalk.

Symptoms of cervical and uterine fibroid:

Uterine fibroids can cause problems like heavy bleeding during periods, pain in the pelvic area, and difficulty with urination or bowel movements. They can lead to anaemia. 

They can also make it harder to get pregnant or cause problems during pregnancy. These include early labour, abnormal position of the baby or the need for a caesarean delivery. After giving birth, uterine fibroids can also cause heavy bleeding.

Large cervical fibroids can block the urinary tract or drop down into the vagina. This can cause problems such as bleeding, infection, or sores (ulceration). Some women may experience pain during intercourse, an infection can also occur, and it can cause pain, bleeding or discharge.

Diagnosis of cervical and uterine fibroid:

Doctors can usually find fibroids through physical exams, imaging or surgery. These include:

  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • X-rays
  • CT scan
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or sonohysterogram 
  • Laparoscopy
  • Hysteroscopy

Treatment of cervical and uterine fibroid:

Treatment depends on how severe the symptoms are and whether or not a woman wants to have children in the future. Women near menopause can wait and see if symptoms improve because fibroids often shrink after menopause. Treatment options include birth control pills, surgery to remove the fibroids, or surgery to remove the uterus. 

If fibroids do not cause any symptoms, they do not need to be treated, and the patient should have regular check-ups every 6-12 months. If fibroids cause symptoms such as heavy bleeding, you can take hormones to stop the bleeding. However, if these options are ineffective, you may need surgery. 

Treatment is similar for both cervical and uterine fibroids. If you suspect that you have cervical or uterine fibroids, consult a medical professional promptly.

1. What causes fibroids?

The exact cause is not known, but it is believed that multiple factors may contribute to their development. These factors may include hormonal imbalances, such as changes in oestrogen and progesterone levels, as well as a genetic component, as fibroids may run in families.

2. Can fibroids turn into cancer?

In very rare cases, less than one in 1000, a fibroid can be cancerous (leiomyosarcoma). Doctors believe that cancerous fibroids occur separately; thus, an already existing fibroid is not likely to become cancerous. Fibroids do not make you more likely to develop a cancerous fibroid or any other type of uterine cancer

3. Are fibroids dangerous?

Fibroids are not considered a serious health threat but can cause unpleasant symptoms such as heavy periods, pain during sex, and fertility problems.

4. How big are fibroids?

Fibroids can occur as a single growth or in groups within the uterus. They can range from very small, like a grain of rice, to quite large, like papaya. In rare cases, they can even grow to be quite large.

5. What if I have fibroids and get pregnant?

Having fibroids does not mean you will have problems during pregnancy. Most women with fibroids have normal pregnancies. However, there is an increased risk in women with fibroids for c-section, baby in the breech, labour that may fail to progress, placental abruption (placenta breaks away from the uterus before delivery), and preterm delivery. It is important to talk to your obstetrician if you have fibroids and become pregnant

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