Fibroids: Many women suffer from benign tumors


About 60 percent of all women develop a fibroid at some point. Although such a tumor is benign, it can cause severe discomfort and pain. However, there are some promising therapies.

< p>Fibroids can cause abdominal pain

Fibroids occur in women all over the world, from Asia to Africa. According to a new study from the USA, 20 to 77 percent of all women worldwide have a fibroid. There are no more precise figures, because fibroids are usually recognized late, if at all.

They are usually detected in a Routine examination discovers or if fibroids cause symptoms. The number of unreported cases is correspondingly high, with fibroids occurring 59 percent more frequently in women with dark skin – people of color – as the study also showed. The exact reasons for this are not known. 

It affects most women between the ages of 25 and 50. The causes of its development are still unknown. Researchers assume that both a genetic predisposition and the female sex hormones play a role, because after menopause the probability of developing another form of myoma is almost zero.

So-called submucosal fibroids form under the lining of the uterus, intramural fibroids grow in the muscular layer and subserous fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus. The doctor can usually feel myomas during a gynecological examination or discover them in an ultrasound. They are not dangerous, they are benign tumors. But they can cause various symptoms.

These are the most common symptoms

Every woman has different symptoms. For example, they depend on the size and location of the fibroids.

The first signs of a fibroid can be pain in the abdomen or in the pelvic area. A fibroid can also cause heavy menstrual bleeding, which often lasts for a long time. In the worst case, this can lead to anemia and, as a result, to dizzy spells. Another possible sign is bleeding between periods. 

If these are particularly severe, the person concerned should consult a doctor. They will then clarify whether it is actually a fibroid or a malignant tumor. In any case, it is important to consult an expert. However, it is almost never the case that a benign fibroid develops into a malignant tumour.

Symptoms from fibroids often increase during menstruation

In the case of a small fibroid, the doctor will probably advise only observing the benign tumors at regular intervals. Most fibroids are smaller than five centimetres, but extremely large fibroids weighing several kilograms have also been removed. Such large specimens can certainly press on adjacent organs and thus trigger further complaints.

If the urinary bladder is affected, it can lead to a strong, unpleasant urge to urinate, which can sometimes no longer be controlled. Back and kidney pain can also have their origin in a fibroid, as can non-specific pain in the legs. In order to associate these symptoms with a fibroid, the doctor must have some experience and also know which therapy is appropriate in each individual case. 

There are many gentle therapies

Surgeons can surgically remove a fibroid. This is usually done minimally invasively, i.e. the tumor is removed during a hysteroscopy or a laparoscopy.

A so-called embolization is also often an option. A doctor inserts plastic particles into the artery, which normally supplies the fibroid with blood. The particles interrupt the blood supply and block the transport of other important substances. The fibroid is thus cut off from the supply and subsequently shrinks.

A relatively young therapy method is the so-called transcervical radio frequency ablation. Electrodes are inserted through the cervical canal and heat is directed at the fibroid. This treatment also causes the growth to become smaller.

It's more complicated when the fibroid is particularly large. Then there is usually a hysterectomy, in which the entire uterus is removed. However, such an operation is only performed if all other therapies have failed and a gentle removal of the fibroid is not possible.

Which method the doctor uses also depends on whether there is a desire to have children and ultimately on good and sensitive advice, in which the patient is informed exactly about the advantages and disadvantages of the methods and can help decide which therapy is the best. 

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