What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are a form of benign growths that are seen in the uterus of a woman. These growths are benign in nature and do not develop into life-threatening malignant forms.
Uterine fibroids develop in the uterus walls (myometrium) when these tissue cells start an uncontrolled growth that eventually develop into hard and rubbery mass that is very distinct from the surrounding tissue cells. These growths can be singular or grow in a group of various sizes. Certain fibroids often shrink in size by themselves or can be seen more prominently during the pregnancy term and disappear after the pregnancy.
This is a more common type of benign tumor which is seen in majority of women at least once in their lifetime and is also often asymptomatic.
What are the Signs And Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?
There are times when a case of uterine fibroid may be asymptomatic and does not show any outward signs.
However the most commonly seen symptoms of uterine fibroids are:
- Excessive bleeding during menstrual periods
- Abnormally prolonged menstrual periods
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Pressure felt in the pelvis
- Frequent urination
- Bladder functional difficulty
- Constipation or difficult bowel movement
- Pain in the leg or back
What are the Causes of Uterine Fibroids?
Although the exact cause in unknown for uterine fibroids the medical fraternity has been able to pinpoint certain factors that are known to increase the risk of uterine fibroids, such as:
- Hormonal factors – The naturally occurring hormones, namely progesterone and estrogen, are helpful in maintaining the necessary tissue that lines the uterus during individual menstrual cycles to prepare for pregnancy. These hormones are believed to sometimes over-stimulate the new tissue cells and cause then to develop abnormally.
- Genetic factors – Certain fibroids have been found to have a slightly different genetic makeup than that of the surrounding normal uterine muscle cells. It has also been found that the chance of developing uterine fibroids increases if a family member also shows fibroids of the uterus.
- Other factors – Various substances, such as insulin, that help in maintaining tissues are also at times the cause of over-development of the fibroid cells in the uterus.
What is the Risk Factor Associated With Uterine Fibroids?
There are several identifiable factors that are likely to increase the risk of acquiring uterine fibroids, such as:
- Heredity – The risk of acquiring uterine fibroids increases significantly if another female member of your family, such as sister or mother, has a history of uterine fibroids.
- Race – Studies have shown that black women are more at risk of developing uterine fibroids than the women of other race types. They are more likely to develop uterine fibroids at a comparatively younger age and the size of the fibroids is also larger.
- Other factors – Beginning of menstruation at an early age, dietary habit having a larger portion of red meat, lower green vegetable and fruit intake and alcohol consumption are some of the other risk factors for development of uterine fibroids.
What are the Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids?
Many a times the development of uterine fibroids is not noticeable and asymptomatic, or shows very little symptoms and these types of fibroids often shrink on their own.
However, for severe cases of uterine fibroids there are a few treatment options that are suggested by the doctor after a complete diagnosis. These are:
Certain medicines that target the hormones responsible for maintaining the menstrual cycle are used to treat symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding and to relieve pressure felt in the pelvic region. These medicines do not destroy or shrink the fibroids. These are:
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists – These medications work by restricting the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone that causes the body to enter a temporary menopause. When the menstrual cycle halts the fibroids shrink in size and anemia also improves.
- Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) – This device can help relieve excessive menstrual bleeding caused due to the development of fibroids in the uterus.
- Others – Oral contraceptives or progestin can assist in controlling menstrual bleeding. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are also known to be effective in relieving the pain caused due to the fibroids.
Doctors often use a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) assisted focused ultrasound surgery (FUS) to treat uterine fibroids. This procedure does not require an incision but is performed by putting a patient inside an MRI machine. The doctor will use a device that focuses ultrasound energy beams (ultrasonic sound waves) to heat the fibroid tissue and thus destroy it.
Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
There are several different methods of minimally invasive surgical procedures that are useful in treating uterine fibroids, such as:
Uterine artery embolization – Embolic agents (small particles) are injected in the arteries that supply blood to the uterus thereby cutting off the blood supply to the fibroids too. This loss of blood supply results in the shrinking and eventual withering of the fibroids.
Myolysis – This is done with the help of a thin surgical tubular device (laparoscope) that uses either a laser beam or a focused electric current charge to destroy the fibroids and shrink the blood vessels supplying blood to them.
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Laparoscopic (robotic) myomectomy – This procedure requires the surgeon to remove the fibroids leaving the uterus intact. A laparoscope, often guided with robotic assistance, is inserted through keyhole incisions in the abdomen to remove the fibroids from the uterus. This procedure is more accurate and dexterous than most of the other procedures.
There are a few options in surgical procedures that are used to relive symptoms of uterine fibroids as well as to remove the fibroids. These are:
Abdominal myomectomy – In case of multiple fibroids in the uterus or large sized fibroids the surgeon may use an incision in the abdomen to gain access to the uterus to remove the fibroids. This is at times a better option than a hysterectomy surgery.
Hysterectomy – This surgery is used to remove the uterus and is the last resort for uterine fibroid removal.
Why Choose Travcure to Get Uterine Fibroids Treatment?
Travcure Medical Tourism Consultants are well known for the efficient and hassle free arrangement for your uterine fibroid removal procedure in India. Travcure has been at the forefront of medical tourism since long due to their well-connected network of hospitals and clinics across all major cities in India that offer the best rate for treatment of uterine fibroids.