Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus (womb). They are made of muscle, and can develop within the uterine wall or attach to it. Fibroids usually start out about the size of a pea, and often grow when women are in their thirties and forties.
Depending on the number, size and location of the fibroids, women may experience a variety of symptoms, including painful and/or heavy menstrual periods, constipation, frequent urination, pain during intercourse and reproductive problems.
The different types of fibroids are:
Pedunculated fibroid – This type of fibroid is connected to the outside of the uterus by a stalk. A woman may feel the fibroid “moving around,” or may have pain if the stalk becomes twisted and blood supply to the fibroid is decreased.
Suberosal fibroid – This type of fibroid lies on the outside of the uterus. It usually causes few symptoms unless it becomes very large.
Intramural fibroid – This type of fibroid is buried in the muscular wall of the uterus. It can cause pain and abnormal bleeding.
Submucosal fibroid – This type of fibroid projects into the uterine cavity and often causes heavy menstrual bleeding and bleeding between periods.
Fibroids usually shrink, and symptoms disappear once a woman goes through menopause, or “the change of life.” If the fibroids are not causing any pain, heavy bleeding or infertility, no treatment is generally required. However, for women suffering from symptoms caused by fibroids, there are a range of treatment options to consider.