An intrauterine fibroid is a muscular growth that
develops in various locations within the uterus wall
or in the uterine cavity. Fibroids are usually firm,
roundish lumps occurring in clusters. The size ranges
from a small pea to something as big as a grapefruit.
Uterine fibroids are sometimes referred to as myoma
because it always develops on the muscle walls
of the uterus.
Why it develops is somewhat uncertain although
research links it to hormonal imbalances i.e. elevated
Intrauterine fibroids can
become potential structural problems of the uterus
that is if the fibroid grows to the size of a baseball
it can block the movement of sperm or egg, disrupt
the implantation of the embryo or cause complications
with pregnancy (should conception take place).
• Fibroids can be subserosal i.e. they are located
in the muscle wall of the uterus just under the surface.
This type may not be symptomatic (without symptoms).
A subserous fibroid need not be removed especially
if it is small and does not interfere with fertility.
If it needs surgical intervention then myomectomy
can be performed where the fibroids are removed but
the uterus is left intact
• Fibroids can also be submucosal meaning they
grow into the uterine lining itself (or protrudes
into the uterine cavity) and often cause irregular,
heavy bleeding or prolonged periods with blood clots
and cramp-like pains and shorter cycles.
Intrauterine Fibroid Facts
• Intrauterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths
(benign tumor) in the uterus.
• The incidence of pelvic disorders increases
with age; intrauterine fibroids seems to increase
as a woman gets older
• Many women do not even know they have it until
they are discovered during routine pelvic examinations
• They are present in about 25-50% of all women
• Fibroids are more common in older women (and
understandably so because of hormonal changes).
• The most common problem with fibroids is its
growth tendency and the fact that it causes bleeding
• Fibroids are detectable through ultrasounds
scans, laparoscopy and hysteroscopy
• Its ability to affect fertility depends on
the size and location.
• Most of the time fibroids are no hindrance
to conception; they just need monitoring.
• Short term treatment involves the use of drugs
but it is a recurring problem, returning once the
drugs are stopped
• A large sized fibroid (e.g. the size of a
grapefruit) can interfere with the normal functioning
of the uterus
• Fibroids can cause miscarriages as they can
interfere with the implantation process
• Fibroids tend to typically run in families
• Uterine fibroids located inside of the uterus
can limit your fertility.
• The conventional treatment is surgery. Surgical
procedures include myomectomy and hysterectomy.
Usually without symptoms, some women do experience
the following discomforts or problems.
growths mostly come to attention during routine pelvic
examinations. Symptoms become uncomfortable owing
to fibroid size and location.
• Lower abdominal pain
• Excessive bleeding during periods or menorrhagia
• Pelvic pressure and urinary frequency
• Anemia weakness or dizziness caused by bleeding
• Pressure on bowel causing constipation or
Fibroids and Pregnancy
Hormone levels shoot up during pregnancy causing
preexisting fibroids to grow rapidly. If they degenerate,
fibroids can sometimes cause uterine contractions
that may result in premature delivery. Often enough,
pregnancies proceed to full term without pain, bleeding
or premature delivery. Generally fibroids do not
hurt the developing baby unless they irritate to
the point where the uterus starts to contract triggering
premature labor. Unfortunately there are no surefire
ways to prevent fibroids from creating problems
during pregnancy because when the uterus grows the
fibroid wall grows too. The only assurance is if
the fibroid is located far away from the uterine
cavity, then the chance for a complicated pregnancy
you can do
• Dietary changes may help during early stage
fibroids. Eat whole grains, high fiber foods to
lower estrogen level. Eliminate junk food, saturated
fats, full fat dairy foods, sugary foods and caffeine
• Lose excess weight as obesity leads to higher
levels of estrogen in the body.
• For pain management use ice packs or heat
on site for 15-20 minutes of every hour
• Go for frequent hormone evaluation tests.
Fibroids do grow in size but not always. Pregnancy
and estrogen replacement therapy can cause fibroids
to enlarge. Fibroids often reduce in size after
menopause. Structural changes mostly happen during
menstrual cycles, peaking during ovulation and just
before the start of periods. Fibroids also grow
during periods of stress. Unless there is excessive
bleeding, surgery is not the best option. Hormonal
treatments may help. A wait and see approach may
work. Most fibroids can be treated conservatively
through regular pelvic exams every 6 months to a
year to monitor the growth. Ultrasounds should be
performed to rule out ovarian cyst or tumor.