What are fibroids?
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that can form in the uterus. They typically form during child-bearing years, most commonly in women in their twenties and thirties. These are usually nothing to worry about as they are not associated with uterine cancer and almost never form into cancer.
What are the symptoms?
It is very common to not experience any symptoms with fibroids. However, when they become more severe, the most common symptom can be heavy menstrual bleeding or periods that last longer than seven days. You may also feel pain or pressure in the pelvic area, and find that you are needing to urinate more often or have difficulty going to the toilet. Other common symptoms include constipation or pain in the legs or back.
Occasionally, symptoms include acute pain when a fibroid outgrows its supply of blood and dies. When they grow into larger masses, you may start to notice changes in the shape of your lower abdomen, and what looks like a swollen stomach or weight gain. Contact your doctor if any of the above symptoms become persistent.
There are many treatment options and the best course of action for you will depend on the likely cause and severity of the problem. Most cases won’t require any treatment, as they will naturally go away on their own, or exist without causing any issue. Fibroids rarely lead to cancer or impact on pregnancy, so most of the time, it is adequate to just keep a watchful eye on your symptoms.
In more severe cases, however, you may be prescribed medications such as a gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which blocks the production of estrogen and progesterone. This causes the patient to mirror the state brought on by the menopause, stopping menstruation and therefore shrinking fibroids.