Fibroids

Fibroids

  • Uterine fibroids are common benign (non-cancerous) tumors of the muscles that make up the walls of the uterus. Fibroids are also known as leiomyomas or myomas.
  • Fibroids are often described by where in the uterus they are located:
    • Intramural fibroids occur within the muscles of the walls of the uterus.
    • Subserosal fibroids occur towards the outside of the uterus.
    • Submucosal fibroids occur towards the inner lining (endometrium) of the uterus.
    • Pedunculated fibroids are subserosal or submucosal fibroids that have developed a stem.
  • Fibroids can vary greatly in size. Some can remain small for a very long time, while others can grow large rapidly.
  • It is estimated that 20% to 80% of women develop fibroids by the time they reach 50 years old1.
  • The annual direct health care costs for the treatment of uterine fibroids is thought to exceed $2.1 billion dollars2.
  • Uterine fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomies in the US. At least 200,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the US due to uterine fibroids.
Symptoms commonly associated with fibroids include:
  • Heavy or painful menstrual bleeding
  • Extended menstrual periods, usually for 7 or more days
  • A feeling of pressure in the pelvic area
  • Pain in the pelvis, back, or legs
  • An increase in urination or problem emptying one's bladder
  • Infertility or difficulty becoming pregnant
  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Painful sexual intercourse
No one really knows the causes of uterine fibroids. However, researchers have identified factors that present a higher risk of developing fibroids including:
  • Early onset of menstruation
  • Family history of fibroids
  • Being over 30 years of age
  • African ancestry
  • Obesity
  • Not having children (nulliparity)
  • Fibroids may be suspected from a pelvic examination if the uterus feels larger than expected or irregularly shaped. Symptoms also play a role in helping your doctor diagnose fibroids.
  • Fibroids can be seen on an ultrasound or MRI. Other imaging tests such as specialized x-rays or a scope can be used as well.
  • The treatment for fibroids varies greatly. Prescription medicines or hormones can be used to reduce the size of the fibroid or reduce symptoms. Like any prescription, these can have side effects.
  • There are several invasive surgical treatment options for fibroids, including:
    • Uterine Artery Embolization is a procedure in which a catheter is inserted into the uterine artery and material is released in order to stop blood from flowing to the fibroid.
    • Tissue Ablation involves a surgeon inserting a probe into the fibroid, usually through one or more small incisions. The probe uses energy such as radio waves or ultrasound to heat and kill fibroid tissue.
    • Myomectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the fibroid, but leaves the uterus in place.
    • Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the entire uterus.
  • A non-invasive treatment for fibroids is High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU. HIFU treatments can be completely non-invasive without the need for incisions or needles. HIFU uses the same energy as diagnostic ultrasound, but at much higher strength. HIFU generally kills fibroid tissue by heating it.
If you have uterine fibroids, you may want to ask the following questions of your doctor:
  • How many fibroids are there?
  • What size are my fibroids?
  • What type of fibroids do I have, and where are they located?
  • What treatment would work best for me?
  • What are the differences in recovery time for the various treatment options?

Caution: The Mirabilis System has not been approved for sale or use in the United States.