Fibroid and Fibroids
A fibroid is a slow-growing and noncancerous tumour that is found in the wall of the uterus. A fibroid is composed of smooth muscle and connective tissue. There may be one or more fibroids, and they may range in size from as small as a pea to as large as a grape-fruit. Fibroids are common, appearing most often in women between the ages of 35 and 45.
The cause of a uterine fibroid is thought to be related to an abnormal response to oes-trogen hormones. Oral contraceptives that contain oestrogen can cause enlargement of fibroids, as can pregnancy. Decreased production of oestrogen after the menopause usually causes any fibroids to shrink.
In many cases, there are no symptoms. If a fibroid enlarges and projects into the cavity of the uterus, it may cause heavy or prolonged periods. A large fibroid may exert pressure on the bladder, causing frequent passing of urine, or on the bowel, causing backache or constipation. Fibroids that distort the uterine cavity may cause recurrent miscarriage or infertility. Rarely, a fibroid may become twisted, resulting in sudden pain in the lower abdomen.
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DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Fibroids that do not cause symptoms are often discovered during a routine pelvic examination. Ultrasound scanning can confirm the diagnosis. Small, symptomless fibroids generally require no treatment, but regular examination may be needed to assess growth. Surgery or microwave endometrial ablation (MEA) is required for fibroids causing serious symptoms. In
some cases, they can be removed with a hysteroscope (a tubelike viewing instrument with surgical attachments) under general anaesthesia , leaving the uterus intact. Removal of fibroids usually results in regained fertility. Sometimes, however, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is required.
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