These are very common, about 20% to 80% of all women have fibroids by the time they reach the age of 50. They are non-cancerous growths of the womb (uterus), also known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas. They are enclosed in capsules attached to the wall of your womb; they don’t spread to other parts of your body.
You may have only one fibroid or you may have many fibroids of different sizes. Fibroids range from being too small to be seen with the naked eye to around the size of a basketball in some cases.
What are the symptoms of fibroids?
Fibroids do not usually cause symptoms. However if you do experience symptoms they may include:
- Heavy periods
- Longer periods lasting up to seven days
- Pain in your pelvic area
- Swelling in your pelvic area
- Passing urine more often than normal
- Constipation, if a fibroid is pressing on your rectum
- Having difficulty in becoming pregnant
What causes fibroids?
We don’t know why women get fibroids, however you are more likely to get these if you have:
- A mother or sister who has fibroids
- Have no children – pregnancy and childbirth seem to protect against developing fibroids
- Experienced early onset of periods
- A weight issue – some studies have suggested a link between being overweight and developing fibroids
Depending on the size of the fibroid, the investigation can be performed transabdominally or transvaginally.
The examination will describe the location, size, blood flow, tenderness and any features of degeneration noted.
Proximity and protrusion in the uterine cavity will be described and if indicated sonohysterography will be recommended to your referring doctor.