What is a fibroid?
A fibroid is just a growth in the uterus.
The uterus is one big muscle and a fibroid is a growth inside it. Sometimes we'll call it a 'leiomyoma' or 'myoma' to get fancy.
These are very common - about a third of all women will develop them as we age
They can range in size from a golf ball to a basketball
Most fibroids are small and not a problem
Fibroids are an issue when they cause problems with heavy periods, pain or fertility
What if I have a fibroid?
Fibroids are like real estate... they're all about location
1. In the lining of the uterus
these are usually small but produce some really heavy bleeding (Like have-to-go-to-the-ER and might-need-a-blood-transfusion because the period is so heavy)
these could also affect fertility because it makes it harder for an embryo to implant
2. In the muscle of the uterus
cause heavy periods too, but they get progressively heavier over time
3. On outside of uterus
these won't affect your periods
if they get really big they can cause pain or discomfort depending on what they're pushing on. (They can push into bladder, causing you to have to pee more often, or if they push into the bowel, then maybe some constipation issues.)
Do I need to do anything if I have a fibroid?
Your fibroid ain't bothering me if it ain't bothering you...
But surgery is recommended if:
1. Your fibroid is causing such heavy periods, it's causing you to be anemic (just losing too much blood)
2. Fibroid is causing pain
3. Fibroid is preventing pregnancy, or may become an issue in future pregnancy
What kind of surgery is done to remove a fibroid?
It depends on location and problem:
small fibroids in lining of uterus can be removed by hysteroscopic myomectomy
larger fibroids can be removed with robotic, laparoscopic or open abdominal surgery, depending on size and location of fibroid
just the fibroid or multiple fibroids can be removed if a woman wants to have more children (myomectomy = remove fibroids)
if woman is done with having children, then hysterectomy (remove the whole uterus) is recommended
Can fibroids grow back?
Absolutely they can. It may take a few years, but they will almost certainly grow back over time. This is why a hysterectomy (removing the whole uterus) is recommended if you're done having kids. Otherwise, you'll likely need surgery down the road again.
So, as always, you have to discuss with your OBGYN your options - everything depends on the size and location of fibroid(s). But know there are options. You don't need to be suffering in pain or having horrendous periods every month.