Fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomas, are noncancerous growths that develop within or on the muscular wall of the uterus. These growths are composed of muscle and connective tissue and can vary in size, ranging from small and undetectable to large enough to distort the shape of the uterus. Fibroids are common among women of reproductive age and can cause a range of symptoms depending on their size, number, and location.
Diagnosing fibroids usually involves a combination of pelvic examinations, imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI, and sometimes a hysteroscopy or biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment options for fibroids depend on the severity of symptoms, a woman's age, and her plans for future fertility. Small, asymptomatic fibroids may not require treatment and can be monitored over time. For those experiencing symptoms, treatment options include medication to manage pain and regulate menstrual bleeding, hormonal therapies to shrink the fibroids, and surgical interventions such as myomectomy (removal of fibroids while preserving the uterus) or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), particularly if symptoms are severe or if fertility is not a concern.
In summary, fibroids are noncancerous growths that can develop in the uterus, affecting women of reproductive age. While the exact cause is not fully understood, hormonal factors and genetics are believed to play a role. Depending on their size and location, fibroids can lead to a variety of symptoms, ranging from heavy bleeding to pelvic pressure. Treatment options aim to manage symptoms and improve a woman's quality of life, with choices ranging from medication to surgical interventions. Proper diagnosis and consultation with a healthcare provider are essential to determine the most appropriate course of action for managing fibroids.