Fibroids

​​Fibroids affect many women. Despite their non-cancerous nature, fibroids can still significantly impact a woman’s quality of life. Let’s look at what exactly fibroids are, what to look out for, and treatment and removal options for this ailment.

What are Fibroids?

Fibroids, medically referred to as uterine leiomyomas or myomas, are growths that develop in the uterus. The body can produce these growths from the muscular tissue of the uterus. Each fibroid varies in size and characteristics from the next. 

Fibroids affect women differently; one woman may have a single fibroid, while another could have several at the same time.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Some women live with fibroids without even knowing they have them because they experience no symptoms.

However, others encounter symptoms that can make daily life difficult. These include:

  • heavy menstrual bleeding
  • periods that last longer than a week
  • pelvic pressure or pain
  • frequent urination
  • difficulty emptying the bladder
  • constipation
  • backache
  • leg pain

Causes and Risk Factors

While the exact cause of fibroids remains a mystery, research suggests that fibroids develop as a result of a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. 

For a start, hormones like oestrogen and progesterone, which prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy, can promote the growth of fibroids. Beyond that, family history, age, and ethnicity can influence one’s risk, with fibroids being more prevalent in women in their reproductive years. 

Understanding these risk factors can empower women to take charge of their health through informed discussions with healthcare providers.

Size and Location of Fibroids

The impact of fibroids on a woman’s health varies dramatically depending on their size and where they are located within the uterus. They can range from the size of a pea to as large as a melon, and their position can affect the severity of symptoms and treatment options. 

Intramural fibroids, which grow within the muscular wall of the uterus, are the most common. Subserosal fibroids, on the outer surface of the uterus, and submucosal fibroids, which protrude into the uterine cavity, can also occur. 

The diversity in size and location means that treatment plans must be tailored to the individual patient.

Treatment Options for Fibroids

The approach to treating fibroids depends on the symptoms that the woman experiences. Treatment options range from pain relief measures to surgical interventions, with the choice of treatment depending on several factors:

  • symptom severity
  • size and location of the fibroids
  • whether the patient desires to preserve her fertility

Here are some of the common treatment options.

For many women, managing the pain from fibroids can greatly improve their quality of life. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can be effective in managing mild pain associated with fibroids.

Additionally, lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet, can also help alleviate some symptoms.

Uterine artery embolisation (UAE) is a minimally invasive procedure that offers an alternative to traditional surgery. This treatment involves blocking the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink and die. 

UAE is particularly appealing for women who wish to avoid surgery and its associated risks.

For women experiencing severe symptoms or who have large fibroids, surgery may be the most effective treatment. A myomectomy is a surgical procedure to remove fibroids while preserving the uterus, making it a suitable option for women who wish to maintain their fertility. 

In cases where fibroids are extensive, and other treatments have been unsuccessful, a hysterectomy, or the removal of the uterus, may be recommended. This is a more radical approach and should only be used after due consideration of the patient’s health and lifestyle choices.

Fibroid treatment in Singapore

The discomfort that fibroids cause can be difficult to deal with. In order to properly treat the condition, you need a clinic that is well-versed in women’s health. At W Gynae, we specialise in providing personalised women’s healthcare for women of all ages and various conditions. 

As we help you with your fibroid treatment, we’ll also discuss your health profile and any cost concerns you might have. We want you to always feel comfortable in our hands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fibroids can affect fertility and pregnancy in some cases, especially when they are submucosal (growing into the uterine cavity). They may interfere with the implantation of the embryo or cause issues during pregnancy, such as pain or a higher risk of preterm labour. However, many women with fibroids do conceive and have successful pregnancies.

Currently, there is no known way to prevent fibroids due to their unclear causes. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and going for regular check-ups with a gynaecologist can help with early detection and management.

Yes, fibroids can recur after treatment. The likelihood of recurrence largely depends on the type of treatment received and individual factors such as a woman’s age and hormonal changes. 

If some fibroid tissues remain after treatment or if the fibroid is shrunk through medication or uterine artery embolisation (UAE), there is a possibility that the fibroid can grow back or that new fibroids can develop.

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