Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that appear in the uterus. Commonly called Leiomyoma or Myoma fibroids are categorised in three ways:
Submucosal – fibroids that grow into the uterine cavity.
Intramural – fibroids that grow within the wall of the uterus.
Subserosal – fibroids that grow on the outside of the uterus.
Depending on a fibroids size and shape or if they appear in a cluster, fibroids can put pressure on other organs such as the bladder, bowel and intestines. Fibroids can also push the uterus aside and force it to grow abnormally and change shape.
Uterine fibroids affect almost 50% of women of childbearing age. They can be as small as an apple seed or as big as a grapefruit, and in some cases can grow even larger. Fibroids do become more common as women age, particularly in the 30 – 40 year age group and through to menopause. Following menopause they usually shrink in size.
Fibroids are often linked with genetics and hormones, however researchers are still not completely certain what causes fibroids to grow. Unfortunately there is no known way to prevent fibroids from growing or reoccurring.
Symptoms of Fibroids.
Most commonly, fibroids don’t have any symptoms and are usually diagnosed during pregnancy on ultrasound. However, some women have them diagnosed prior to pregnancy via pelvic examination, ultrasound or x-ray, usually because they have had some symptoms.
Common Symptoms of fibroids include:
Will Fibroids Affect my Pregnancy and Delivery
Most women with fibroids have will have a normal uncomplicated pregnancy and go on to have a normal vaginal delivery. The size and number of fibroids is noted during pregnancy and monitored via normal standard procedure ultrasound. We take a conservative approach to monitoring at regular antenatal visits. If pain develops, vaginal spotting or bleeding, or premature abdominal cramping you should seek medical advice immediately.
In some cases, fibroids can cause delivery complications, some of which would be known, antenatally and discussed during your regular visits.
Most common delivery complications for fibroids are:
Women with noted uterine fibroids prior to labour, will be given an intravenous cannula on arrival to the delivery suite when in labour, so intravenous access can be gained following delivery.
A standard amount of intravenous Syntocinon is given prophylacticly to help the uterus to contract and avoid post delivery bleeding. This is a standard procedure across all hospitals.
If you have any questions about Uterine Fibroids, please ask us at your next visit.