Fibroid tumor diagnosis are generally made by your physician during your annual gynocological exam when your physician feels a mass, they often are found when your physician is looking for something else or may never be discovered if you do not experience symptoms. However larger fibroids may make examination of your ovaries impossible if they grow near your ovaries.
An ultrasound scan is often ordered when such masses are felt by your physician to determine the cause of the mass, however some fibroids appear on sonograms as ovarian tumors and surgery is the only way an accurate diagnosis can be made.
Although most fibroids cause no symptoms, the estimated 25% of women who do have symptoms may have abnormal bleeding, pain during menstruation , and as the fibroid tumors grow larger, women will often experience a swollen abdomen.
Larger fibroids may cause frequent urination or an inability to control your bladder, either the ability to control the urge or in severe cases, a women may find that she is unable to urinate at all. If a fibroid extends towards a woman’s back it may push on the bowels, causing constipation and a backache.
Treatment of Fibroids
If your fibroid tumors are severe enough that they cause certain symptoms, surgery is often, the required treatment. Symptoms which justify surgery include: extremely heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle, which causes anemia that does not respond to treatment; pain, which has become intolerable to the woman or discomfort caused by the pressure of the fibroids on another organ; or when the location of the tumors is likely to cause further problems.
Surgery for fibroid tumors includes, myomectomy and hysterectomy.
Myomectomy is the surgical removal of each individual tumor without damage to the uterus, preserving a woman’s ability to conceive. However, fibroids will often grow back and although it is possible to have a myomectomy repeated, multiple myomectomies can cause other problems such as the walls of the uterus sticking together due to scarring.
Women should also consider uterine artery embalization. Uterine artery embalization leaves the uterus intact in a non-surgical procedure. Polyvinyl particles are placed into the uterine artery at a point just before the nexis of vessels spread out into the uterine tissue. The particles flow into the vessels and clog them. This prevents the fibroids from receiving the constant blood supply they require and causes the fibroids shrink overtime. However, almost immediately the symptoms of heavy bleeding and pelvic pain are significantly reduced.
The sad fact is that because fibroids do grow back, most women will eventually have to face a hysterectomy. Removing the uterus is the only permanent way to effectively relieve most women of fibroids.