Uterine fibroids are a condition where muscular tumors grow within or along the walls of your uterus. The tumors are noncancerous and mainly consist of smooth muscle cells. However, other tissues may also form uterine fibroids, albeit in smaller amounts. Uterine fibroids vary greatly in terms of their size. For example, some of the fibroids tend to be microphonic in size, others can be as long as eight inches, or even longer. Some fibroids occur in a clustered form, while others are standalone. Some will shrink in size over time, while others grow with time. However, other fibroids do not change in size with time.
Fibroids are more prevalent in women of childbearing age on your uterus. Some people experience a rapid expansion of multiple fibroids such that they reach the rib cage. Additionally, such fibroids contribute to extra weight. Most women are not even aware that they have uterine fibroids as they do not experience any symptoms. In most cases, fibroids are discovered by accident while you are undergoing prenatal ultrasound or a pelvic exam. Certain risk factors influence the development of uterine fibroids. Some of these risk factors include obesity. genetics, and early onset of monthly periods.
Uterine fibroids are characterized by such symptoms as pain while having intercourse, cramping, heavy menstrual period, constipation, and vaginal discharge, among others. Uterine fibroids can be treated using over-the-counter medication, birth control pills, and oral therapies. Your doctor may also recommend fibroid surgery, depending on their severity.
What causes uterine fibroids?
While the causes of uterine fibroids remain unclear, several risk factors have been identified that can increase the risk of this condition.
- Genetics: Some fibroids run in the family. Therefore, women who have a history of uterine fibroids in their families are at a higher risk of developing fibroids
- Hormones: Female hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, can also trigger the growth of uterine fibroids. These hormones result in the regeneration of the uterine lining. Fibroids are characterized by more progesterone and estrogen receptors, in comparison with the normal uterine muscle cells. As the levels of estrogen reduce, this is linked to the shrinkage of fibroids. Low estrogen levels can happen while taking certain medications. For example, the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). After menopause, women experience a shrinkage in the fibroids as a result of a reduction in hormone production.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the production of progesterone and estrogen increases. This might trigger the development of fibroids
- Dietary habits: Consumption of alcohol, red meat, and caffeine may also predispose you to the development of uterine fibroids. In contrast, increased consumption of vegetables and fruits is associated with a reduced risk of uterine fibroids. Being obese or overweight also elevates the risk of uterine fibroids.
Other risk factors for uterine fibroids are:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Age- risk for uterine fibroid increases with age
- Food additives
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Most women do not present with any symptoms of uterine fibroids. Consequently, your healthcare provider will most likely need to observe you on a regular basis. Small fibroids are usually asymptomatic, implying that they do not cause any symptoms. In the case of larger fibroids, however, various symptoms show up. These symptoms include:
- Frequent urge to urinate; this is especially the case if the fibroid exerts pressure on the bladder
- Lower back pain
- Painful intercourse
- Bloating or fullness in your lower abdomen especially if the fibroids are large
- Painful menstrual periods
Some women also present with infertility issues that are associated with uterine fibroids. You may also experience problems during pregnancy and during labor as well, due to fibroids. It may be necessary to undergo cesarean delivery as a result of these complications.
Some studies have indicated that removing fibroids is associated with a better rate of conception and increased likelihood of live births, However, these findings are riddled with controversy. It is important therefore to undertake further research into the issue to further shed light on the matter.
Women with large fibroids may experience swelling of their lower abdomen. Additionally, large fibroids are associated with weight gain. Since uterine fibroids are associated with heavy bleeding, they may also cause anemia. However, such anemia is mild in nature and diet changes and intake of iron pills are sufficient to alleviate the symptoms. If the condition is not addressed, anemia can lead to lethargy and exhaustion. In severe situations, it can cause heart problems.
How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?
Since uterine fibroids can be asymptomatic, the only way to tell if you are suffering from the condition is to get examined by a doctor. Usually, the doctor will conduct a pelvic exam. This physical exam allows the doctor to feel your fibroids and determine if they are big enough. In the case of smaller fibroids, however, these may not be visible during a pelvic exam. In such a case, the doctor will have to order several tests to establish their size and location.
Examples of these tests include:
- Ultrasound: This is a test that utilizes sound waves at high frequencies to generate images of your uterus. With the images so generated, your doctor is in a position to clearly see the internal structures of the uterus. Any fibroids in your uterus also become visible
- Transvaginal ultrasound: Your doctor may also want to conduct a transvaginal ultrasound. During the procedure, your doctor will insert an ultrasound probe inside your vagina. The test gives clearer pictures of the uterus in comparison to a normal ultrasound
- Pelvic MRI: The procedure entails an MRI scan of your pelvic region to establish the number and size of your fibroids
- Laparoscopy: During this procedure, your doctor will make a small incision on your abdomen, and then insert a small tube that has a light attached. This light helps the doctor to examine your uterus and the adjacent structures.
- Hysteroscopy: This is yet another device that is useful in the diagnosis of uterine fibroids. The device has a small camera attached to it. Your doctor will insert a hysteroscope into your uterus via the vagina. Your doctor may also decide to take a biopsy to investigate the possibility of cancerous cells.
Treating uterine fibroids
Most fibroids do not cause any discomfort or excessive bleeding. If you have fibroids, they are likely to shrink over time. Other fibroids disappear altogether once you reach menopause. There is no need to treat such fibroids because they do not pose any danger to your health. For such fibroids, your doctor may recommend watchful waiting.
In case the fibroids cause bleeding, are painful or uncomfortable, it is important that you receive treatment. Our doctors will discuss with you the various treatment options available for treating uterine fibroids. They will also explore the benefits and limitations of each of these methods. In this way, you will make an informed decision.
The doctor will recommend medication as the first line of treatment for your uterine fibroids. Some of the medication that your doctor is likely to recommend include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: The role of such drugs is to reduce pain as a result of fibroids. An example of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is ibuprofen. However, such drugs do not reduce bleeding.
- Oral contraceptives: Oral birth control pills help to regulate ovulation. Such contraceptives may also reduce the amount of bleeding and pain that you are likely to experience during your monthly periods. Hormonal birth control pills administered at low dosage can also hinder the growth of fibroids.
- Surgery: In the case of severe fibroids, surgery is often the best approach. This is because conservative treatment options like medication may not be effective in treating such kinds of fibroids. Once the doctor has established that you need to undergo a surgical procedure to treat uterine fibroids, discuss with your surgeon and a convenient date can be scheduled to conduct the operation.
Some of the surgical procedures your surgeon is likely to recommend include:
- Hysterectomy: This is a procedure whereby the surgeon removes your uterus in its entirety or part of the uterus. This procedure is best suited in case fibroids lead to excessive bleeding or they are significantly large in size. Total hysterectomy may also involve removing your fallopian tubes and ovaries. This can trigger the development of early menopause. It can also cause a significant decrease in libido. However, the procedure offsets the return or relapse of fibroids.
- Endometrial ablation: This is a surgical procedure where the surgeon surgically removes the uterine lining. The procedure is mostly suitable for fibroids that are located near the inner surface of your uterus.
- Laser surgery: This is an outpatient procedure for treating fibroids. The procedure involves the removal of small fibroids with the help of high-intensity light. A fibroid can be removed during a laparoscopy, based on its location. Alternatively, the surgeon may choose to use a hysteroscope. This is a thin tube that has a laser. The device is inserted into the uterus via the vagina. The small scraper inserted into the tube helps to scrape off the fibroids from the uterine wall. The procedure is minimally invasive and there is no blood loss. Recovery is also faster.
Post-op care and diet
After the procedure, your surgeon will recommend that you take a rest in our recuperation ward for further observation. If you underwent laser surgery, you can go home a few hours after the procedure. In case of endometrial ablation or a hysterectomy, the observation period might take longer.
- As you continue recovering at home, expect to feel pain or discomfort for a few days post-surgery. This is quite normal. Your doctor will usually prescribe medication to relieve such pain
- You may, however, get tired quickly. That is why you need to take sufficient rest until you fully recover. It is important that you rest each time you get tired. Try and get as much sleep as possible as this will assist with your recovery
- Make an effort to walk each day as this promotes blood flow. Walking also helps avoid constipation
- Do not engage in any strenuous activities like jogging or aerobic exercises for several weeks post-operation
- Avoid using tampons or inserting anything in your vagina. Do not also engage in sexual intercourse until you have completely healed. It is advisable that you wear sanitary pads, just in case you experience light vaginal bleeding T
- Ensure intake of fluids unless advised otherwise by your doctor
- Should you develop a stomach upset, you are advised to consume low-fat foods, such as broiled chicken, yogurt, and plain rice
- You can still enjoy your usual diet after surgery. Eat enough fruits and vegetables to help with easy bowel movement
- Take pain medication as prescribed by your doctor.
- In case of any excessive bleeding or severe pain, contact your doctor immediately.
Many women during their childbearing years suffer from uterine fibroids. Growth from inside the wall of the uterus is called uterine fibroids. Most fibroids do not cause cancer. For some women, fibroids cause abnormal bleeding during menstruation.
Laser surgery to treat uterine fibroids is popular in cities like Bangalore. During laser surgery, the specialist uses high-intensity light to focus on small fibroids and eliminate them.
Why laser therapy to treat uterine fibroids?
Laser surgery is quick and less complicated compared to open surgery. With laser surgery, only a local anesthetic is used and women can go home the same day of the surgery. The risk of infection is negligible; Women recover faster after laser surgery for fibroids.
Those women suffering excessive blood flow during menstruation found greater benefits after laser surgery. They reported lesser and shorter periods.
How we can help you at goficure to seek the best laser therapy in Bangalore?
goficure has the complete database of expert doctors in Bangalore with many years of experience in treating patients suffering from uterine fibroids.
We help you
- Find the right specialist and schedule your appointment
- Assume responsibility for your care from start to completion
- Schedule the surgery
- Pick you up from your residence
- Support you through the procedure
- Track post-operative care
- Arrange all follow-up appointments
- Chart out nutrition and diet plan
- Advice for better lifestyle and fitness
- Ensure all processes with respect to insurance claims
At goficure, we bring for you customized and complete healthcare on a platter.
1. Dedicated Medi-Pal
A dedicated Medi-Pal is assigned to you. Your Medi-Pal will be your one point contact throughout the treatment and post-op period. They will always be available for you
2. Quick doctor’s appointments
After understanding your concerns, your Medi-Pal will schedule your consultation with a specialist doctor. Your doctor will carry out necessary tests and advise the course of treatment
3. Hassle-free treatment
If you opt to get the surgery done, goficure will take care of it completely. Right from booking your surgery, claiming your insurance to being with you throughout the procedure, your Medi-Pal will do it all
4. Post-op recovery support
Your Medi-Pal would ensure quick recovery. This includes booking your follow up consultations and helping you with doctor-recommended steps for diet & exercise
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