A fibroid is a benign (non-cancerous)tumour that forms a hard, round ‘knot’ in the muscle of the womb. They are also known as uterine myomas or fibromyomas.
Fibroids vary in size from a few millimeters to more than 30cm across and occasionally reach the size of a full-term pregnancy, although this is unusual.
Once formed, fibroids tend to develop slowly until the menopause, when they usually shrink.
What causes fibroids?
The cause of fibroids is not fully understood. Because they develop after puberty and shrink at the menopause, they are thought to grow in response to natural female hormones.
They are more common in women with a family history of fibroids, suggesting that the genes you inherit may be involved.
Taking the combined oral contraceptive pill does not appear to increase the risk of fibroids, although using a progestogen-only method of contraception may reduce the risk.
Many women with fibroids do not experience symptoms, and you may only know you have them if they are found during routine screening or investigations for other conditions.
Fibroids symptoms that can occur, and which require assessment by a gynaecologist, include:
Occasionally, fibroids can affect fertility, or may cause problems during pregnancy, although they do not usually prevent a successful pregnancy for most women.
Fibroids diagnosis and treatment
A gynaecologist may suspect fibroids if you have heavy periods, especially if you also experience abdominal swelling or a sensation of pelvic pressure.
A gentle examination of your abdomen and an internal examination are important for the doctor to assess the size and shape of your womb.
An ultrasound scan will confirm the diagnosis of fibroids, and show how many you have, as well as assessing their size. You may also have a blood test to check for anaemia if your periods are heavy.
Your private gynaecologist will then explain all your treatment options and help you decide on the right course of treatment for you.
The treatment of fibroids depends on the severity of your symptoms, and whether or not you are trying for a baby or wish to keep your fertility options open.
For example, medical treatments can reduce bleeding, while fitting a progestogen-releasing intrauterine system can help to control bleeding and provide contraception. Special hormone blockers are also available that cause fibroids to shrink by mimicking the menopause.
You can also be referred for surgical treatments depending on your individual needs and wishes.
Fibroid Specialist in London
The consultant gynaecologists at The Medical Chambers Kensington will discuss your treatment options with you.
Your fibroids check includes a detailed consultation with your chosen specialist, a blood test (Ferritin, FBC) and a pelvic scan.
To find out how our private fibroid specialist can help you, please telephone 020 7244 4200 for a confidential chat or book an appointment online.