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What are the Different Types of Fibroids?

What are the Different Types of Fibroids?

There are certain types of fibroids that women are likely to suffer from due to numerous factors. In this article, you will be reading about various types of fibroids along with other essential information on fibroids.

Understanding fibroids

Fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or around a woman’s uterus. In some cases, these growths become quite large, causing severe abdominal pain and heavy menstrual bleeding.

But there are cases where women experienced no signs and symptoms at all.

According to doctors, these abnormal growths are typically noncancerous or benign. The causes of these growths in and on the uterus are still unknown.

As per the doctors at the National Institute of Health (NIH), approximately 80 per cent of women develop fibroids by the age of 50. However, most women don’t experience any symptoms and may never know if they have fibroids.

What are the types of fibroids?

The types of fibroids a woman may develop depends on the uterus or its location.

Intramural fibroids

It is the most common type of fibroid women develop. Intramural fibroids develop within the muscular walls of the uterus grow larger and stretch the womb. The symptoms a woman is likely to note are as follows:

  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Moderate back pain
  • Pelvic pain

Subserosal fibroids

If you find an abnormal growth outside your uterus, it is probably a subserosal fibroid. These fibroids can grow large enough, making your womb appear visibly larger.

These fibroids can also develop within the surrounding outer uterine tissue layer. These can further develop into pedunculated fibroids.

The symptoms include:

  • Backache or leg pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual periods that last more than a week
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder

Pedunculated fibroids

Pedunculated fibroids are non-cancerous, and are attached to the uterine wall by a stalk-like growth called a peduncle. This type of fibroid grows both outside and inside of the uterus. The fibroids that grow inside the uterus are called pedunculated submucosal fibroids and fibroids that develop outside the uterus are called pedunculated subserosal fibroids.

The symptoms of pedunculated fibroids are as follows:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Intense pain during periods
  • Prolonged menstrual bleeding

Submucosal fibroids

These types of fibroids grow in the middle muscle layer of the uterus, also called the myometrium. Submucosal fibroids are not as common as other types of fibroids. Submucosal fibroids can push into the cavity of the womb. Here are the symptoms of submucosal fibroids that you must know:

  • Back and pelvic pain
  • Heavy flow
  • Severe anemia
  • Prolonged periods
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Menopausal bleeding

These are the types of fibroids that everyone, especially every woman should know about.

What are the possible reasons for fibroids?

There are no concrete reasons for the development of these fibroids. However, there is little research that suggests that the growth of fibroids can be due to more than one factor. Those factors include:

  • Genetics (hereditary)
  • Hormonal changes (changes in progesterone and estrogen levels)

These causes are the same for all types of uterine fibroids. The exact cause of the occurrence of a particular type of fibroid is not clear.

As said earlier, most women don’t even notice that they have fibroids. But, is there any risk of developing any of these types of fibroids? Who is at a higher risk of developing fibroids?

Who is at risk of developing fibroids?

Knowing the risk factors for any type of uterine fibroid is important to plan preventive health measures and regular checkups in cases where the risk is high.

Factors that increase the risk of developing fibroids are as follows:

  • Family history: Women in the family who had fibroids before makes other female members at risk of developing any one of these types of fibroids. If your mother had fibroids, you are three times more likely to develop fibroids compared to other female members of the family.
  • Obesity: Women who are overweight or obese are at higher risk of developing fibroids. Some doctors believe the risks for obese women to develop fibroids are two or three times higher than average-weighted women.
  • Age: Women in their 30s, 40s, and in menopause are more likely to develop fibroids. In menopausal women, the fibroids are less likely to develop and usually shrink if they are present in the uterus.

These are the factors that increase the risk of developing fibroids in certain women. But are there any complications of fibroids?

types of fibroids

Are there any complications of any type of fibroid?

The chances of complications depend on your health condition, the type of uterine fibroid, and the severity of the growth. Certain types of fibroids can cause complications such as:

  • Miscarriage and premature delivery: Fibroids can reduce the blood supply to the placenta or compete for space with the growing baby.
  • Urinating problems: A larger development of fibroids can make your uterus big, pressing it against the bladder. This can cause frequent need to urinate or discomfort or a feeling of fullness.
  • Infertility: Fibroids can interfere with the implantation of the fertilised egg in numerous ways. For example, the fibroids may change the shape of the uterus and make it difficult for an egg to implant or the egg may try to implant onto a fibroid.
  • Anaemia: Women who experience excess bleeding can develop anaemia – a condition where the body is unable to carry sufficient oxygen in the blood. Reduced exercise intolerance, breathlessness, paleness, and fatigue are the symptoms of anemia.

What are the treatments for fibroids?

Many women do not notice fibroids as they might not experience the symptoms. Generally, the physician or gynaecologist discovers that you have fibroids during your routine body checkup. While the general treatment options remain the same, your doctor will finalize the best suitable treatment based on the type of fibroid you have and its severity.

The treatment for fibroids depends on the size, location, and the number of fibroids. After evaluation, your doctor will suggest the following:

  • Medicines: Your doctor will prescribe medicines that are a combination of both hormones and other medicines that can shrink the fibroids before surgery.
  • Hysterectomy: It is a surgical procedure to remove a part of (or the entire) uterus. Remember, after a hysterectomy, you will not be able to conceive.
  • Arterial embolization: In this procedure, the surgeon will use local anesthesia. Further, fine particles of a special material are passed through an artery in the leg or arm into the main artery that provides blood to the fibroids. This process is monitored by X-ray. The surgeon will inject fine, sand-like particles into the artery to block the blood supply to the fibroids. With no blood supply, these fibroids die and the symptoms get reduced over a few months.
  • Hysteroscopy: The fibroids are removed through the cervix with the use of a hysteroscope with a cutting loop.
  • Laparoscopy: Also known as keyhole surgery, the surgeon inserts a thin telescope through the abdomen and other instruments are used to remove fibroids from the abdomen in small pieces.
  • Open surgery: A surgeon makes an incision in your abdomen and removes the larger fibroids. However, this procedure weakens the walls of the uterus and makes a pregnant woman undergo C-section during the time of delivery.
  • MRI-directed ultrasound: Doctors use the MRI machine to detect the location of fibroids and monitor them. On the other hand, ultrasound is used to heat up and destroy fibroid tissues. Surgeons perform this procedure without anesthesia but give medication that helps relaxation.

Key Takeaways

These are the types of fibroids that everyone should know, especially women. Use this article to understand and detect symptoms, know the risk factors and complications of fibroids.

You can also take the advice and help of your doctor to better understand this condition in detail. Also, discuss the suitable treatments and medication to treat any of these types of fibroids.

Learn more about uterine fibroids here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Sep 22, 2021
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.