Have you just been told you have uterine fibroids. Whether you found this out accidentally or you are trying to conceive, this post will tell you everything you need to know when finding uterine fibroids on ultrasound. Luckily, there are ways to decrease your risk for them, treat them and get pregnant naturally. Keep reading, if you are interested.
In this post, I will discuss the following topics.
- What are uterine fibroids?
- Causes of Uterine Fibroid on Ultrasound
- Fibroids and Fertility
- When do fibroids need to be removed?
- Uterine Fibroids On Ultrasound: Treatments
- How do fibroids appear on ultrasound?
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This post should not be taken as medical advice. if you have any concerns, please contact your doctor. Also, this post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something, I may earn a small commission at no additional to you.
1) What are uterine fibroids?
What are fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are growths or tumors that appear in the uterine lining. They are noncancerous and consist of muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. Some women have only one fibroid. Others have many more found in groups. Usually, fibroids do not go from noncancerous to cancerous. The chance of having a cancerous fibroid is so low. Some of them are so tiny like (less than 1 cm- 5 cm), while others are big like (bigger than 10 cm). They can be found in groups or individually.
Types of Uterine Fibroids
There are three types of uterine fibroids. They are defined by where they are located.
- Type 1: Intramural Uterine Fibroids:
These are fibroids that appear between the muscles of the uterus. There can appear in front of the uterus. In this case, they are anterior intramural uterine fibroid. If they are at the back of the uterus, they are called posterior intramural fibroid. If they are on the top part of the uterus, they are called fundal intramural fibroid.
- Type 2: Submucosal Uterine Fibroids:
These are fibroids that appear within the uterine lining. It is so rare to have this. These fibroids may cause more bleeding.
- Type 3: Subserosal Uterine Fibroids:
These are fibroids that appear outside the uterus. These don’t cause symptoms, but it can if they can affect on other organs in the body.
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
They usually do not cause any symptoms. But, if they do, they can cause the following.
- If they are big, they can cause heaviness and discomfort in the lower pelvic area.
- Longer Than a 7 Day Period
- Heavy Period
- Pain During Sexual Intercourse
- Light Bleeding Between Periods
- If you can’t empty your bladder.
- Pain in the Back and/or Leg
Who gets uterine fibroids?
There are a few women who have a higher chance of getting uterine fibroids. But, usually women have it when they can get pregnant (childbearing years). They include:
- Those who have other members in family with fibroids.
- Those who are overweight.
- Women who have lack of Vitamin D
- Those who start their period early.
By eating better and exercising, you could decrease your risk for uterine fibroids.
2) Causes of Uterine Fibroids On Ultrasound
There are a few causes of uterine fibroids on ultrasound. They can be for a genetic cause. There is something genetically wrong with uterine muscle cells. They can be caused by irregular estrogen and progesterone hormones. That is why women who have fibroids usually don’t have them after menopause due to low estrogen and progesterone levels . Another cause is a problem with EMC. EMC is the thing that sticks cells together. In fibroids, there is too much EMC, and that could make a problem in the cells. Sometimes, the cause of uterine fibroids on ultrasound is unknown.
3) Fibroids and Fertility
Fibroids could affect your fertility, especially ones that change the shape of the uterus. According to some research, almost 10 percent of women who have infertility have fibroids. They can cause infertility in a few ways. They can block fallopian tubes or sperm entering the cervix. Or, they cause can problems with implantation. They could also decrease blood flow to certain areas in the uterus. Keep in mind, most women with fibroids can still get pregnant naturally. Even if they can’t get pregnant naturally, the doctor can usually help with this. If you have submucosal uterine fibroid, the chance of infertility and miscarriage is higher than the other types of fibroids. That is because it affects the uterine lining where the baby implants.
If you have a fibroid when pregnant, this could cause complications. Some of these complications include preterm or prolonged labor, placental abruption, and breeched baby. You may have to have a c-section. If you do have a fibroid while pregnant, they usually do not increase in size. If you have them before pregnancy, talk to your doctor whether you should remove them or not. She will look at their locations and sizes.
4) When do fibroids need to be removed?
Those who are going through infertility may want their fibroids to be removed to increase chances of pregnancy. There are also other treatment to consider. Those who have severe symptoms because of fibroids may also want their fibroids to be removed. Big fibroids (9-10cm) should be removed too.
5) Uterine Fibroids On Ultrasound: Treatments
There are a few treatments for uterine fibroids.
- (GnRH) agonists: GnRH stands for Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists. This medications stops the release of Estrogen and Progesterone. Since, fibroids rely on these hormones to grow, stopping the hormones decreases the growth of the fibroids. This pretty much puts you in menopause the end of periods. But, periods come back when you stop the medication.
- FUS: FUS stands for MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery. This is effective. It uses high sound waves to attack the fibroids. No incisions are made. It is an outpatient procedure.
- Laparoscopic Myomectomy: A myomectomy is a surgery that removes uterine fibroids. The doctors uses a camera to see inside the uterus. They may very small incisions and remove the fibroids.
- Robotic Myomectomy: A myomectomy is a surgery that removes uterine fibroids. The doctor controls robotic tools to make small incisions and remove the uterus fibroids.
- Abdominal Myomectomy: They cut your abdomen and enter the uterus and then sew the uterus back. They do this surgery if you have big fibroids or many of them.
- Hysteroscopic: This procedure involves a device that looks like a telescope. A doctor uses electric current to remove the fibroids.
- Laser: There is a new way to remove fibroids. It uses only a laser, and it is effective. You get to go home the same day of the procedure.
- Hysterectomy: This surgery removes the uterus completely. This is not an option if you want to get pregnant.
For more info, watch this video.