Uterine fibroids are are benign (non cancerous) growths that occur within the smooth muscle of the uterus called the myometrium. Typically, uterine fibroids are slow growing, benign tumors and are most commonly found in women during the ages of 25-50.
Uterine fibroids are the most common cause of hysterectomy (uterus removal) in the Africa. There are alternative treatments such as a myomectomy which means removing the tumor from the uterus.
The symptoms of fibroids include:
- heavy vaginal bleeding
- irregular menstrual cycle
- anemia (low blood count)
- pelvic pain
- pelvic or vaginal pressure
- abdominal cramping
- abdominal distention.
TYPES OF UTERINE FIBROIDS:
The location of the fibroid in or on the uterus will determine the type of uterine fibroids.
Submucosal fibroids – are fibroids that grow inside the cavity of the uterus. This type of fibroids is typically treated with hysteroscopic (a camera inside the uterus itself) resection or removal.
Intramural fibroids – are fibroids located in the muscle layer of the uterus itself. These fibroids are most commonly treated laparoscopically.
Subserosal fibroids – are fibroids located on the outside of the uterus (i.e. toward the abdominal side of the uterus). These are the ones that are typically treated through laparoscopy.
DIAGNOSIS OF FIBROIDS
Ultrasound or MRI of the uterus is the best way to diagnose the location, number and type of fibroids as well as the overall size of the uterus.