Non-cancerous tumours of the womb.
They are also known as leiomyomas, uterine myomas or fibromyomas.
Types of fibroids
Grow within the muscle layer of the womb
Grow outside the wall of the womb
Grow from the inner wall into the cavity of the womb.
Women with fibroids may experience the following symptoms:
Heavy or painful periods
Lower back pain
Need to pass urine more often
Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
May also cause infertility
If you think you may have fibroids, you should see your doctor.
Your doctor will take a history and perform an examination of your abdomen and an internal examination.
An ultrasound scan will be done to confirm the diagnosis.
If the ultrasound scan shows that you have fibroids, you may be referred to a gynaecologist for further investigations such as a hysteroscopy to look for submucosal fibroids. A hysteroscopy involves a doctor using a hysteroscope (small telescope) to look inside the uterus.
Key hole surgery (laparoscopy) can also be used to examine the organs in the pelvis to look for fibroids.
Fibroids usually shrink and disappear on their own, especially after menopause so they do not need to be treated if they are not causing symptoms.
If they are causing symptoms, then medication can be used e.g. the intrauterine system (IUS), anti-inflammatory pain medication, tranexamic acid (stop heavy bleeding), the contraceptive pill and GnRH analogues (reduces the size of the fibroids).
If the symptoms are very severe and medication has not worked then surgery to treat fibroids.
Some women with fibroids experience complications such as:
Increased risk of Caesarean section