FIBROIDS – SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around your womb (uterus). The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue. Morning after Pill Singapore

What causes fibroids?

The exact cause of fibroids is still unknown.

However, fibroids have been linked to the female reproductive hormone oestrogen, which is produced by the ovaries.

This is why fibroids are more common in females in their childbearing years and may regress after the menopause.

Being hormone sensitive, fibroids may also grow during pregnancy, and shrink after childbirth.

Who is at risk of having fibroids?

Fibroids occur most commonly in women during their reproductive years.

Other risk factors for fibroids include a positive family history of fibroids, increased body weight (overweight or obese females), early onset of menstruation, and exposure to hormone treatments.

Types of fibroids

Fibroids can grow both inside and outside the walls of the womb/uterus and can vary significantly in size and location.

Intramural: located within the wall of the uterus.

Subserous: located in the outer layer of the uterine wall

Submucous: located in the inner layer of the uterine wall, and can protrude into the uterine cavity

Pedunculated: growing on a stalk, either into the uterine cavity or outside the womb

What are the symptoms?

Many women do not have any symptoms and are unaware that they have fibroids. For some women symptom includes:

Heavy periods

Bleeding in between periods

Bleeding after sexual intercourse

Discomfort, bloating and “heaviness” in the lower abdomen

Pain or pressure: severe cramps, colicky pain, painful periods, lower backache

Urinary frequency or constipation due to the fibroid pressing on the bladder or bowel

Anaemia due to heavy menstrual bleeding. Anaemia is caused by a lack of red blood cells, and symptoms include tiredness, dizziness, weakness and headaches.

How do I get a check for fibroids?

An ultrasound scan can confirm the diagnosis of fibroids. The scan helps the doctor assess the number of fibroids, their exact size, and location within the womb.

How are fibroids treated?

Medical treatment

Anti-inflammatory medicines

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help to decrease menstrual or pelvic pain, while tranexamic acid can reduce the amount of menstrual bleeding.

Both tranexamic acid and NSAIDs are not contraceptives, meaning they can be used while you are trying to get pregnant.

Hormones

Hormonal therapy is used to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding associated with fibroids.

These include the oral contraceptive pill, intrauterine devices (IUD), progesterone tablets, and progesterone injections.

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Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment involves removal of the fibroids, which can be performed by a gynaecologist via keyhole (laparoscopy or hysteroscopy) or open surgery (laparotomy).

Will this affect my fertility?

Fibroids can impact your fertility and pregnancy, depending on their size and location.

Large submucosal fibroids can distort the uterine cavity, interfering with normal implantation of a fertilised egg.

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