Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop from the muscle tissue of the uterus. (They also are calledleiomyomas or myomas.) They may be present inside the uterus, on its outer surface or within its wall, or attached to it. The size, shape, and location of uterine fibroids can vary greatly.
Uterine fibroids are most common in women aged 30 – 40 years. A fibroid may remain very small for a long time and suddenly grow rapidly, or grow slowly over a number of years.
Some fibroids, especially those that cause no symptoms, that are small, or that appear near menopause may not require treatment. However, certain symptoms may indicate the need for treatment by medication or surgery:
- Heavy or painful menstrual periods that cause anemia or that disrupt a woman’s normal activities
- Bleeding between periods
- Uncertainty whether the growth is a fibroid or another type of tumor, such as an ovarian tumor
- Rapid increase in growth of the fibroid
- Pelvic pain
Hysterosalpingography: A special X-ray procedure in which a small amount of fluid is injected into the uterus and fallopian tubes to detect abnormal changes in their size and shape or to determine whether the tubes are blocked.
Hysteroscopy: A surgical procedure in which a slender, light-transmitting telescope, the hysteroscope, is used to view the inside of the uterus or perform surgery.
Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure in which a slender, light-transmitting telescope, the laparoscope, is inserted into the pelvic cavity through small incisions. The laparoscope is used to view the pelvic organs. Other instruments can be used to perform surgery.
Resectoscope: A slender telescope with an electrical wire loop or rollerball tip used to remove or destroy tissue inside the uterus.
Sonohysterography: A procedure in which fluid is put into the uterus and ultrasonography is used to view the inside of the uterus.