A fibroid is a benign tumor that mainly consists have muscular tissue and usually grows inside the uterus. Fibroids are also called myomas. Its size ranges widely, from a small tumor the size of a pea to a large tumor almost the size of the uterus.
Myomas are classified into three types, depending on the location where they are found. The intramural myoma, a fibroid that grows in the muscular wall of the uterus. This subserosal myoma, a fibroid located just beneath the outside mucosal covering of the uterus.
Here the fibroid projects to the outside and occasionally remains connected with the uterus only through a small stalk. The submucosal myoma, a tumor that grows beneath the surface of the uterus lining. Therefore, this type of fibroids can grow into the uterine cavity.
The actual causes have development of a fibroid are still unclear. However, it has been documented that fibroids are associated with high levels of estrogen, the female sex hormone. Fibroids can only developed during reproductive years of women.
Following menopause, the production of estrogen decreases which will usually cause fibroids to shrink or disappear. Myomas are more common in non-pregnant and infertile women.
In general, fibroids are asymptomatic or associated with just a few complaints if any complaints. If any complaints occur, then the location, size and type of the fibroid are the major factors.
Fibroids can affect nearby structures. They can cause compression of the bladder, which may lead to urinary complaints, or may obstruct the intestine, which may result in constipation. Other complaints can be: backaches, abdominal problems, menstrual flow disturbances.
Fibroids can impede normal childbirth, which may require caesarean delivery. Fibroids relatively more often lead to miscarriages. Whenever fibroids cause symptoms, they need to be removed or shrinked. Medications sometimes cause fibroid to shrink by blocking the production and secretion of estrogen.
In other cases, surgery may be required to remove the fibroid. The type of surgery depends on the location of the fibroid. Sometimes it's possible to remove the fibroid with the help of the tube entered through the vagina and the procedure is called hysteroscopic myomectomy.
In other cases, surgery through the abdominal wall may be necessary. In the case of a large fibroid, hysterectomy may be the only solution. This option only applies when there is no desire to have more children. You general practitioner can give you more information about the disorder and it's possible treatments.