Fibroids

Also known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas

Fibroids are a common condition affecting a significant percentage of women every month with heavy and painful periods

About fibroids

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths made up of muscle and fibrous tissue that develop in or around your womb (uterus). Many women are unaware they have fibroids because they do not necessarily exhibit any symptoms. However, in some cases it can have a severe and damaging impact on quality of life due to the severity of the symptoms.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of fibroids icon plus

    Symptoms may include: - Heavy periods and painful bleeding - Abdominal and/or lower back pain - Frequent urination - Constipation - Pain during sex
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will request an imaging test to confirm a diagnosis of fibroids. This will help them to get a more accurate idea of the location, size and number of your fibroids. Tests include: - Ultrasound scan. This can be used to identify the presence of fibroids in the body. - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan. This can be helpful for providing a more detailed image of the location, size and number of fibroids present. - Hysteroscopy. This is where a small camera is used to look inside your womb at the fibroids. It is also used to rule out any other causes of the bleeding.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment options will depend on the severity of the symptoms you are experiencing. If your symptoms are causing you considerable pain, treatments may include: - Medications to shrink the fibroids and reduce heavy periods. - Surgery. Your consultant may recommend a hysterectomy (surgery to remove your womb) or a myomectomy (surgery to remove the fibroids from the wall of your womb) if your symptoms are severe. - Uterine artery embolisation (UAE). An alternative prodecure to surgery that involves blocking the blood vessels that supply the fibroids, causing them to shrink.

Types of fibroids

Submucosal fibroids

These occur under the lining of the womb. This type can also grow on a peduncle, which is an elongated stalk of tissue.

Intramural fibroids

This is the most common type of fibroid that can develop. They grow within the wall of the womb and may cause the womb to be an irregular shape.

Subserosal fibroids

These develop on the outer wall of the womb and are usually symptomless. However, if they grow large enough they can put pressure on surrounding organs.
MRI brain scan

Treatment focus: Fibroid embolisation

This treatment does not require an operation, and has been shown to significantly reduce the size of fibroids – helping to improve symptoms. 

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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