Fibroids - Women's Health


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Can fibroids affect my mood?


It's not that the fibroids change the moods, but the associated hormonal levels or bleeding and pain might make you feel a little different than usual.


Can fibroids turn into cancer?


Fibroids are almost always benign (not cancerous). Rarely (less than one in 1,000) a cancerous fibroid will occur. This is called leiomyosarcoma. Doctors think that these cancers do not arise from an already-existing fibroid. Having fibroids does not increase the risk of developing a cancerous fibroid. Having fibroids also does not increase a woman's chances of getting other forms of cancer in the uterus.


What is calcified and degenerated fibroid?


Older fibroids can develop calcification that is a calcium coating which is basically a hard outer shell that may be the body’s way of isolating the fibroid. Besides calcification there can be other changes in the substance of the fibroid like accumulation of fat or blood clots or liquefaction – this is known as degeneration. Red degeneration is a peculiar condition where fibroids may become painful and cause flu like symptoms however it is self-limiting in nature.


Can I expect to see a discharge if the fibroid inside the cavity of womb undergoes any changes?


It depends; if the fibroid(s) are inside the uterine cavity, you may notice a discharge. This may be a common sign that the lysing (dissolving) of the fibroid is occurring or that there may be an infection of a pedunculated submucous fibroid. The color of this discharge can range from clear to white to blood red or brown periodically during the first few months. You must consult the doctor in case of any concerns.


What if I become pregnant and have fibroids?


Women who have fibroids are more likely to have problems during pregnancy and delivery. This doesn't mean there will be problems. Most women with fibroids have normal pregnancies. The most common problems seen in women with fibroids are:


• Cesarean section. The risk of needing a c-section is six times greater for women with fibroids.

• Baby is breech. The baby is not positioned well for vaginal delivery.

• Labor fails to progress.

• Placental abruption. The placenta breaks away from the wall of the uterus before delivery. When this happens, the fetus does not get enough oxygen.

• Premature delivery.

• Miscarriage.


How do I know for sure that I have fibroids?


Your doctor may find that you have fibroids when you see her or him for a regular pelvic exam to check your uterus, ovaries, and vagina. The doctor can feel the fibroid with her or his fingers during an ordinary pelvic exam, as a (usually painless) lump or mass on the uterus. Often, a doctor will describe how small or how large the fibroids are by comparing their size to the size your uterus would be if you were pregnant. For example, you may be told that your fibroids have made your uterus the size it would be if you were 16 weeks pregnant. Or the fibroid might be compared to fruits, nuts, or a ball, such as a grape or an orange, an acorn or a walnut, or a golf ball or a volleyball.


Your doctor can do imaging tests to confirm that you have fibroids. These are tests that create a "picture" of the inside of your body without surgery. These tests might include:


• Ultrasound

uses sound waves to produce the picture. The ultrasound probe can be placed on the abdomen or it can be placed inside the vagina to make the picture.


• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

uses magnets and radio waves to produce the picture


• Computerised axial tomography or CAT Scan (CT)

takes many X-ray pictures of the body from different angles for a more complete image


• Sonohysterogram

A sonohysterogram involves injecting water into the uterus and making ultrasound pictures.


Sometimes, it is the surgery that may definitely diagnose the fibroids. There are two types of surgery to do this:


• Laparoscopy

The doctor inserts a long, thin telescope into a tiny incision made in or near the navel. The scope has a bright light and a camera. This allows the doctor to view the uterus and other organs on a monitor during the procedure. Pictures also can be made.


• Hysteroscopy

The doctor passes a long, thin scope with a light through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. No incision is needed. The doctor can look inside the uterus for fibroids. A camera also can be used with the scope.


What questions should I ask my doctor if I have fibroids?


• How many fibroids do I have?

• What size is my fibroid(s)?

• Where is my fibroid(s) located (outer surface, inner surface, or in the wall of the uterus)?

• Can I expect the fibroid(s) to grow larger?

• How rapidly have they grown (if they were known about already)?

• How will I know if the fibroid(s) is growing larger?

• What problems can the fibroid(s) cause?

• What tests or imaging studies are best for keeping track of the growth of my fibroids?

• What are my treatment options if my fibroid(s) becomes a problem?

• What are your views on treating fibroids with a hysterectomy ( removal of womb) versus other types of treatments?


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If you have any queries regarding topic raised within this article please do not hesistate to contact the Women's Health Clinic via the email form at the bottom of the page or by calling our London clinic on 020 8947 9877.

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