Fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomas, are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. They are common in women of reproductive age and can vary in size from small to large. While many women with fibroids do not experience any symptoms, some may experience heavy or painful periods, pelvic pain, or discomfort during sex.
The exact cause of fibroids is not fully understood, but they are believed to be related to hormonal imbalances, genetic factors, and environmental factors. While there is no cure for fibroids, there are several ways to manage the symptoms and reduce their impact on a woman’s quality of life.
- Watchful waiting: For women with small or asymptomatic fibroids, a “watchful waiting” approach may be recommended. This involves regular monitoring to track the growth and development of the fibroids.
- Medications: Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and hormonal medications may be used to manage fibroid-related symptoms such as pain and heavy bleeding. Hormonal medications such as birth control pills, progesterone, or GnRH agonists can also help shrink the size of fibroids.
- Myomectomy: A myomectomy is a surgical procedure to remove fibroids while leaving the uterus intact. This procedure may be recommended for women who wish to preserve their fertility.
- Hysterectomy: A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus. This may be recommended for women who do not wish to have children and have severe or recurrent symptoms that do not respond to other treatments.
- Uterine artery embolization: Uterine artery embolization (UAE) is a minimally invasive procedure that involves blocking the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink and eventually die. This procedure is not recommended for women who wish to have children.
It is important for women with fibroids to work with their healthcare provider to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses their unique symptoms and health concerns. With proper management, most women with fibroids can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.