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What is Leiomyoma? Print E-mail
Written by Jessica Smith   
Sunday, 25 October 2009
A uterine fibroid is a noncancerous growth in the wall of the uterus. A fibroid can be any size from microscopic to as large as a cantaloupe.
What is going on in the body?

Fibroids are firm, round lumps that often occur in groups on the uterine wall. They are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue. Fibroids usually grow very slowly in the wall of the uterus. They respond to increased levels of estrogen, one of the female hormones. Increased hormone levels in some conditions can increase the rate of the fibroid's growth. These conditions include the following:
# hormone replacement therapy for menopause
# oral contraceptives, or birth control pills
# pregnancy

After menopause, fibroids may shrink or disappear completely.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?

No clear cause of uterine fibroids is known. Research indicates that fibroids may be influenced by estrogen and progesterone, but hormones are not the cause of fibroids. Fibroids are diagnosed in black women two to three times more often than in white women.
What are the treatments for the condition?

Most fibroids do not cause symptoms and don't need treatment. Sometimes, medicines are used to shrink the tumor by decreasing the level of estrogen in the blood.

Women with symptoms like heavy bleeding and pain may need surgery. If the woman is not planning to have any more children, a hysterectomy may be recommended. This is surgery to remove the uterus. If the woman would like to become pregnant in the future, a myomectomy may be done instead. This is surgery to remove only the fibroid. The uterus is left intact.

Another procedure that may be performed is an arterial embolization. A tube is threaded into a uterine artery. Small beads are injected into the artery leading to the tumor. This blocks the blood flow to the artery, shrinking the fibroid.

Laser treatment, called myolysis, is another procedure used to destroy fibroids. The woman takes medication for 3 to 4 months to shrink the tumor before the laser treatment is done.
What are the side effects of the treatments?

Surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.
What happens after treatment for the condition?

If a hysterectomy was done, no more fibroids can develop. If the ovaries were removed with the uterus, hormone replacement therapy may be necessary. Fibroids do grow back about 10% of the time after a myomectomy.
How is the condition monitored?

Women with fibroids should be examined every 6 months to monitor the size of the fibroid. Any unusual symptoms or concerns should be reported to the healthcare provider.


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