Many women who have fibroids experience no symptoms so carry on as usual, unaware of the condition. For others, the experience is very different. Female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer sees many women with fibroids in her London clinic, each with their own set of symptoms – but many of the concerns are the same. Here are five of the most commonly asked questions:
1. What is a fibroid?
A fibroid is a muscular tumour that grows in the wall of the womb, sometimes within the wall (intramural fibroids) and sometimes into the uterine cavity (submucosal fibroids).
2. Are fibroids dangerous?
Cases of fibroids are overwhelmingly benign, with less than 1 in 1000 being cancerous. Furthermore, it is not thought that an existing fibroid can develop into a malignant tumour, nor that having fibroids increases your chances of developing other womb-related cancers. Depending on where they are located and to what size they grow, fibroids may exert pressure on other parts of the anatomy, particularly the rectum and bladder, causing discomfort and other related symptoms.
3. Why do fibroids happen?
The cause of fibroids is not certain and there are probably several contributing factors including genes and hormones. The likelihood of a woman having fibroids increases in her 40s. Fibroids are more likely to occur too in women of African-American heritage, those with a family history, and those who are obese.
4. How are fibroids treated?
The treatment options for fibroids will depend on your symptoms and the size and location of your fibroids. During your consultation at her London clinic, Miss Amanda Tozer will conduct a thorough examination and perform a pelvic ultrasound; she will then recommend a treatment plan for you.
5. Can fibroids affect pregnancy?
Most women with fibroids have a normal pregnancy but it is important that any doctor you see is aware of your fibroids as they can cause complications.