Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or on the muscular walls of the uterus. They are also known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas. Fibroids are extremely common, occurring in about 70-80% of women by age 50. While many women don’t experience symptoms, fibroids can sometimes cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure, and other issues.
Uterine fibroids are benign tumours that grow in the wall of the uterus (womb). They are almost always non-cancerous (benign). They are made up of muscle cells and other tissues that grow in and around the wall of the uterus. The medical term for fibroids is uterine leiomyomas.
Fibroids can grow as a single tumour or in clusters (multiple tumours). They range in size from microscopic to several inches across. Some can grow large enough to make a woman’s abdomen expand.
There are three main types of uterine fibroids:
- Intramural fibroids – These grow within the muscular uterine wall. This is the most common type of fibroid.
- Subserosal fibroids – These develop under the outside covering of the uterus and expand outward. They can sometimes grow large enough to make the uterus feel bigger on one side.
- Submucosal fibroids – These develop just underneath the uterine lining and expand into the uterine cavity. This type tends to cause the most issues with heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain.
There are also some less common fibroid types:
- Pedunculated fibroids – These grow on small stems connecting them to the uterus inside or outside.
- Cervical fibroids – These grow in the wall of the cervix (neck of the uterus).
- Interligamentous fibroids – These develop in the uterine broad ligaments that connect the uterus to other pelvic structures.
Fibroids can develop in different locations:
- Intramural – Within the muscular wall of the uterus
- Submucosal – Just under the uterine lining
- Subserosal – Under the outer serosa layer of the uterus
- Pedunculated – On stems projecting out from the uterus
- Interligamentous – In the broad ligaments of the uterus
- Cervical – In the cervical wall
The location of fibroids determines how they will affect the uterus and surrounding organs. For example, submucosal fibroids that bulge into the uterine cavity are more likely to cause heavy menstrual bleeding than other types.
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes fibroids to form. Research suggests genetic, hormonal, and other factors may play a role. Risk factors for uterine fibroids include:
- Genetics – Having a mother or sister with fibroids increases your risk. Fibroids contain genetic changes (mutations) that aren’t inherited but happen as the tumour forms.
- Overweight & obesity – Higher amounts of fatty tissue increase estrogen levels, promoting fibroid growth.
- Early start of periods – Women who started menstruating before age 10 are at higher risk.
- Pregnancy – Fibroids shrink and grow less during pregnancy. Having a later first pregnancy (over age 30) or never giving birth does increase risk.
- Hormonal factors – Estrogen and progesterone promote fibroid growth. Oral contraceptives slightly increase risk.
- Other factors – Poor diet, high blood pressure, anaemia, and using intrauterine devices may also increase risk. It’s unclear if fibroids are hereditary.
Many women with fibroids don’t have any symptoms. However, fibroids can cause issues like:
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods – Bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days or involves passing large clots is considered abnormal.
- Menstrual pain – Some women with fibroids experience painful periods.
- Pelvic pressure or pain – Large fibroids may press on other pelvic structures and cause a feeling of fullness or pain.
- Urinary problems – Fibroids pressing on the bladder can make urination difficult or more frequent.
- Pregnancy issues – Some fibroids can interfere with getting pregnant or cause problems like miscarriage, early labour, or abnormal foetal position.
- Reproductive problems – Submucosal fibroids that bulge into the uterine cavity are linked with infertility and pregnancy loss.
Other complications, though rare, can include severe anaemia from heavy periods or problems with nearby organs if fibroids become very large.
If you have symptoms of uterine fibroids, kapeefit ayurvedic expert will perform one or more of the following tests to confirm diagnosis:
- Pelvic exam – Feeling the uterus for size, shape, and areas of tenderness or swelling.
- Ultrasound – Using sound waves to create images of the uterus and fibroids. This is the main imaging test used.
- MRI – Advanced imaging to view uterine fibroids and their location. Helpful for treatment planning.
- Hysteroscopy – Insert a tiny camera into the uterus to view fibroids directly. Done with local anaesthesia.
- Laparoscopy – A minimally invasive surgery using a small incision and camera to view the uterus and ovaries.
- Endometrial biopsy – Taking a small sample of the uterine lining to check for cell abnormalities if needed.
- Blood tests – Check for anaemia and other health factors. A CA-125 test helps rule out ovarian cancer if ovaries are enlarged.
Once diagnosed with fibroids, kapeefit expert doctor will determine if they affect your health or fertility. Watchful waiting is recommended for minor fibroids not causing symptoms.
There are several treatment options for uterine fibroids:
- NSAIDs – Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are used to reduce heavy bleeding and pain.
- Hormonal contraceptives – Birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives may help control heavy periods and pain. They don’t shrink fibroids, though.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists – Drugs like Lupron shrink fibroids by lowering estrogen levels. Often used short-term before surgery.
- Progestin IUD – An intrauterine device (IUD) releasing progesterone can reduce heavy bleeding from fibroids.
- Myomectomy – Removal of the fibroid tumours, leaving the uterus intact. Done for women who still want to have children.
- Hysterectomy – Removal of the entire uterus. This completely gets rid of fibroids but makes pregnancy impossible. The ovaries may or may not be removed.
- Endometrial ablation – Destruction of the uterine lining to control heavy bleeding. Uterus remains.
- MRI-guided ultrasound surgery – Uses an ultrasound beam to destroy fibroids while MRI maps the area. Non-invasive option.
- Uterine artery embolization – Cuts off blood flow to fibroids, making them shrink. Done via a catheter inserted into a groyne artery.
- Herbal remedies – Herbs like turmeric and green tea extract may help regulate estrogen and shrink fibroids.
- Vitamins – Supplements like vitamin D and B complex may support hormone balance and reduce heavy bleeding.
- Acupuncture – This therapy aims to improve circulation and relieve pain by inserting thin needles at key body points.
- Yoga and massage – Gentle stretching and massage can help ease uterine pain and pelvic pressure from fibroids. Stress management also helps.
- Dietary changes – Eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine may shrink fibroids.
Having uterine fibroids doesn’t automatically mean you need aggressive treatment or that major complications will occur. Here are some tips for living with fibroids:
- Track your symptoms, like heavy bleeding and pain, in a journal. This helps determine if treatments are working.
- Maintain a healthy body weight and eat a nutrient-rich diet.
- Exercise regularly. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and yoga are great options.
- Consider trying natural therapies like acupuncture, herbal remedies, or supplements.
- Ask your doctor about medications to help manage heavy periods, anaemia, or pain.
- Get regular pelvic exams and imaging tests to monitor fibroid growth.
- Seek counselling or join a support group if fibroids impact your mental health and quality of life.
- Learn relaxation techniques like meditation to improve your ability to cope with pain.
- Avoid smoking and excess alcohol, which can worsen fibroid symptoms.
Most women with mild to moderate fibroid symptoms won’t need surgery or other invasive treatments. Having an open dialogue with your doctor is key to developing the best management plan for your individual situation.
Most uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) and will remain that way. Less than 0.1% of fibroids morph into cancers called leiomyosarcomas. Malignant change of a fibroid is very rare.
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes a small number of fibroids to become cancerous. Women with certain genetic conditions like hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer syndrome have a higher risk. African-American women also seem to have higher rates of cancerous fibroids.
Signs that a fibroid may have turned into a sarcoma include:
- Extremely rapid growth of the fibroid tumour.
- Severe pelvic or abdominal pain.
- Feeling a firm mass in the abdomen combined with bloating.
- Severe vaginal bleeding not related to menstruation.
- Feeling systemic symptoms like fatigue, nausea, weight loss, and pelvic issues.
If you experience any concerning new symptoms, see your doctor right away. Imaging tests like an MRI, PET, or CT scan and biopsy can determine if a uterine fibroid has become malignant.
The outlook for uterine leiomyosarcoma depends on the stage at diagnosis. Early localised tumours have around a 65% 5-year survival rate. Sadly, the survival rate drops to 15-25% when distant metastases are found. Aggressive tumour removal, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy treat cancerous fibroids.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine that takes a holistic approach to uterine fibroids and other health conditions. According to Ayurveda, fibroids develop due to excess tissue growth from an imbalance in the body and mind.
In Kapeefit Online Ayurvedic Consultation for Uterine Fibroids ,Ayurvedic practitioners will perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine your unique triggers and imbalances. Treatment aims to rebalance your mind-body constitution using changes to diet, daily routine, herbs, detoxification, yoga, meditation, and other modalities.
Some of the key components of Ayurvedic fibroid treatment include:
- Virechana – Herbal purgation therapy to cleanse toxins from the body and balance hormones.
- Yoni steaming – Applying herbal steam to the vagina and pelvis to improve circulation and promote healing.
- Herbal formulas – Anti-inflammatory and hormone-regulating herbs like aloe vera, turmeric, fenugreek, and gotu kola.
- Abhyanga – Daily oil massage nourishes tissues and enhances circulation.
- Yoga asanas – Specific poses to strengthen the pelvic region and reduce fibroids.
- Stress management – Meditation, counselling, and lifestyle changes to address emotional imbalances underlying fibroid formation.
- Dietary Changes – An individualised eating plan to reduce inflammatory foods and balance hormones.
The ancient principles of Ayurveda offer a time-tested approach to naturally shrinking fibroids and enhancing overall well-being. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to see if this holistic system suits your fibroid treatment.
Uterine fibroids are extremely common, benign growths of the muscular uterine wall affecting up to 80% of women. Many fibroids don’t cause symptoms, but some lead to heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and reproductive issues.
Fibroids are diagnosed with a combination of pelvic exams, ultrasounds, MRIs, and other tests. Treatment options range from watchful waiting to medications, surgical procedures, and natural therapies. Making dietary and lifestyle changes can often help manage fibroid symptoms.
Most women with mild fibroids will not require aggressive interventions. Working closely with your doctor allows you to weigh each treatment option’s pros and cons. Monitor your symptoms and follow up regularly to ensure uterine fibroids remain stable.