Fibroids

Types of Fibroids

Fibroids may arise in different parts of the uterus (see graphic) and are named according to their position within the layers of the uterus. The position of the fibroid determines the type of symptom you may experience and the treatment options available. The growth rate of a fibroid is dependent on hormones (estrogen, progesterone and possibly others). Growth rates vary greatly among women and the cause for this variability is not known. Below the graphic is a list of the different types of fibroids and the symptoms that are typically associated with them.

Symptoms of Fibroids

Other suspected symptoms include infertility and/or repeated miscarriage. However, the statistical evidence for infertility is lacking and other factors are more likely to cause infertility in patients with fibroids. Some researchers have suggested that the presence of fibroids may predispose a patient to miscarriage, but reliable evidence to support this possibility is not yet available.

How are Fibroids found?

Fibroids are typically discovered by using symptom history in combination with pelvic examination. It is important to have regularly scheduled pelvic examinations and PAP smear performed by a primary health care provider (Family Physician, Gynecologist, Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant). Ultrasound is often used for evaluating the presence of fibroids and ovarian problems. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is another imaging tool used to better define the size, extent and distribution of fibroids. MRI allows for more precise treatment planning for alternative therapies or minimally invasive surgical procedures. Once fibroids are confirmed to be the cause of symptoms, a physician can discuss the potential treatments that are available today.

When should Fibroids be treated?

This is dependent upon the individual. The main reason to treat fibroids is to improve a woman’s quality of life. Fibroid related bleeding can cause women to miss work, or compromise their social life and travel plans. Some bleeding can be severe enough to cause anemia or require blood transfusion. In this situation, the treatment is more required than optional. Urinary frequency can impact sleep patterns and also make a long trip in the car difficult. The pain and pressure related to fibroids can even require narcotic medication to make the woman able to tolerate her symptoms.

What are the treatment options for Fibroids?