Just as there are a variety of types of uterine fibroids, there are a range of treatment options.
Explore the symptom and treatment options below – including the benefits of the minimally invasive laparoscopic approach to uterine fibroid treatment.
Uterine fibroids aka fibroid tumors are benign (non cancerous) growths that occur within the smooth muscle of the uterus called the myometrium. Typically, uterine fibroids are slow growing, benign tumors and are most commonly found in women during the ages of 25-50. The malignant or cancerous form of a fibroid tumor is called a leiomyosarcoma, this type of tumor is very, very rare.
Uterine fibroids are the most common cause of hysterectomy (uterus removal) in the United States. However most women do not need their uterus removed and instead can have an alternative treatments such as a myomectomy which means removing the tumor from the uterus.
Uterine Fibroid Symptoms:
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Anemia (low blood count)
- Pelvic pain
- Pelvic or vaginal pressure
- Abdominal cramping
- Abdominal distention
While the specific cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, we do know that they respond to hormones such as estrogen and progesterone and grow during the reproductive years. Fibroids seem to start to growing in women between ages 25 and 35. Once a woman goes into menopauses (average age of 51) the fibroids typically shrink and women will often stop having symptoms.
African-American women have a higher risks of fibroids compared to Caucasian women and women that have mothers or sisters with fibroids have a higher risk of having them as well. Pregnancy and childbirth seem to decrease the risk and many fibroids do shrink once a woman reaches her menopausal years. It is thought that estrogen increases the growth of fibroids; therefore if a woman utilizes post-menopausal hormone replacement with estrogen, the fibroids may not shrink as much as they would otherwise.
The location of the fibroid in or on the uterus will determine the type of uterine fibroids.
Submucosal fibroids – are fibroids that grow inside the cavity of the uterus. This type of fibroids is typically treated with hysteroscopic (a camera inside the uterus itself) resection or removal.
Intramural fibroids – are fibroids located in the muscle layer of the uterus itself. These fibroids are most commonly treated laparoscopically.
Subserosal fibroids – are fibroids located on the outside of the uterus (i.e. toward the abdominal side of the uterus). These are the ones that are typically treated through laparoscopy.