Fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomata, are masses of tissue, typically somewhat large masses, that are composed of uterine cell tissues. Fibroids are not cancerous. They have been known to grow both around and even inside of your uterus. Fibroids often distort the size and the shape of your uterus. Fibroids may be a few centimeters long, or up to 15 centimeters long or even longer. Often, they grow in groups. Somewhere around 50 to 80 percent of women have at least a single fibroid.
There are three kinds of fibroids. Fibroids that grow inside the uterine wall are known as intramural fibroids. These are the most common. Fibroids that grow outside of the uterus are called subserosal fibroids. These fibroids are often the largest of the types of fibroids. Finally, submucosal fibroids are the fibroids that will grow on the inside of your uterus. These are more rare, and account for somewhere around 1 in 20 fibroids.
Because fibroids can change the shape of the uterus, and because they can grow within the uterus, some studies suggest that fibroids can greatly affect fertility. For women who are having fertility problems, research shows that removal of the fibroids will increase their fertility by around 70%. Women who have subserosal fibroids, however, do not seem to have their fertility affected by their fibroids.
Fibroids are typically treated through surgery. This surgery is typically done vaginally, and therefore doesn’t require cutting of the abdomen. Often, fibroids can be removed on an outpatient basis. Fibroids may sometimes be removed laparoscopically, using several small incisions and a small camera. In this case, recover is just a few days. Fibroids that are intramural, however, do typically require regular traditional abdominal surgery.
Once a woman with fibroids does manage to become pregnant, her fibroids will typically increase in size. Most of the time, they will not affect your pregnancy or cause any symptoms. Fibroids can create a higher risk of having a miscarriage or of having preterm labor. If your fibroids grow to where they are extremely large, they can cause some complications. Postpartum hemorrhaging is one possible complication that they can cause. If the fibroids grow in such a way that they obstruct the birth canal, they can create difficulty with labor, including a stalled labor or the need to have a cesarean section. Sometimes, fibroids that grow in the uterus can cause your baby to be in a strange position, and can cause fetal malpresentation. Generally speaking, fibroids are not treated during pregnancy.