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What is Fibroid?
Fibroid is a benign (noncancerous) tumour (abnormal growth) in the uterus. It is also known as leiomyomas, myomas, fibromyomas.
It consists of smooth muscle bundles and connective tissue that grows slowly within the uterine wall.
As it enlarges, it may distort the uterine cavity or protrude from the uterine wall into the uterine cavity causing obstruction.
It may be as small as a pea or as large as a grape fruit, and there may be one or more of them.
Types of Fibroids
• Intramural fibroids, the most common, grow in the wall of the uterus.
• Subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus. As they grow larger, they can cause pain due to their size or pressure put on nearby organs.
• Submucosal fibroids grow just underneath the uterine lining and can crowd into the uterus cavity and lead to heavy bleeding and other more serious complications.
• Pedunculated fibroids grow on small stalks inside or outside the uterus.
Fibroids are among the most common tumours, occurring in women over 30years of age.
° They appear most often in women aged 35-50 and rarely occur before age 20.
° They are more common in black women.
° Having a family member with fibroids
° Being overweight or obese and having raised blood pressure.
It is idiopathic (unknown). But it is thought to be related to abnormal response to estrogen hormone, oral contraceptive containing estrogen, and early menstrual periods.
They tend to shrink during menopause because of the decrease estrogen hormone production.
In most cases, it is asymptomatic, especially if it is small.
• If it grows and erodes the lining of the uterus, it may cause heavy or prolonged menstrual periods; severe bleeding which can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia.
• Large fibroids may exert pressure on the bladder causing discomfort or frequent passing out of urine.
• It may also exert pressure on the bowel, causing backache or constipation.
• It may cause distortion of the uterus causing miscarriage or infertility.
• Small, symptomless fibroids may require no treatment, but regular examination may be necessary to determine whether they are growing.
• For the menstrual pain, acetaminophen or NSAIDs e.g ibuprofen, naproxen may be used.
• Using hormonal birth control methods that may lessen fibroids symptoms e.g progestin injection.
• For fibroids that cause serious symptoms and complications, surgery may be required. The name of the surgery is hysterectomy.
When to see a doctor
See your healthcare provider if have;
1. Heavy menstrual bleeding
2. Painful menstruation
3. Pain/discomfort in the lower abdomen
4. Change in length of menstrual periods
5. Frequent urination or inability to control urine flow.
Lippincott textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing
Ganong medical physiology