What is a Myoma?

wiseGEEK Writer

A myoma is a tumor most often growing in or out of the uterus and referred to by the more familiar name, fibroid. These tumors are not cancerous, and many women who get them never know they have them. In some cases, multiple tumors are present, or a single myoma grows extremely large in size and begins to cause symptoms. It bears repeating that fibroids can be completely asymptomatic and so tiny that they’d be hard to diagnose. Others do enlarge significantly, are easy to visualize with tools like ultrasound, and may need treatment in order to better promote comfort.

Medicines may be taken to shrink fibroids.
Medicines may be taken to shrink fibroids.

It’s not always known why a woman might develop fibroids. Some potential causes include race, where it appears women of African descent are at higher risk for getting a myoma or more than one. Women with other family members who have these may also be at elevated risk. Being overweight may increase risk of developing a myoma too.

Heavy menstrual bleeding and a prolonged period are signs of a myoma.
Heavy menstrual bleeding and a prolonged period are signs of a myoma.

Should one or more myoma develop and be symptomatic, people might expect symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding. During the “bleeding” part of the menstrual cycle more pads per day could be saturated, and length of period could be longer, often exceeding seven days. Some women also have spotting in between periods.

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Laparoscopic myomectomies may be used to remove some small growths.
Laparoscopic myomectomies may be used to remove some small growths.

If fibroids are large they can exert pressure on the uterus and bladder. Some women feel a need to frequently urinate or have trouble fully emptying bladder or bowels. Others may feel discomfort in the pelvic region, and have a sense of constant crampiness.

Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus when looking for tumors or other abnormalities.
Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus when looking for tumors or other abnormalities.

One of the biggest problems with presence of a large myoma is risk for such heavy bleeding that iron deficiency or anemia develops. Instances of heavy bleeding and significant spotting should be brought to a doctor’s attention. Additionally, fibroids that grow outside the uterus may be attached to it by a small connection called a stalk, and if this suddenly twists, extreme pain may develop. People need immediate treatment if they experience extreme pelvic pain.

Pelvic pain and cramping are common symptoms of myomas.
Pelvic pain and cramping are common symptoms of myomas.

Sometimes the presence of one or more larger myoma puts women at greater risk for miscarriage and this needs to be addressed through tumor removal. On the other hand, many women have fibroids and undergo perfectly healthy pregnancies. Presence of these growths doesn’t necessarily indicate that medical intervention is needed.

The presence a myoma may cause abnormal vaginal discharge.
The presence a myoma may cause abnormal vaginal discharge.

Plenty of women who develop fibroids do have enough unpleasant symptoms that necessitate treatment. In the past, such treatment was aggressive, and if the fibroids were big, it almost always involved hysterectomy or removal of the uterus. There are now effective treatment strategies that are less invasive. One newer treatment method is using waves of sound to eliminate the fibroids in a procedure called focused ultrasound surgery.

Hysterectomies are commonly performed gynecological surgeries that are usually performed by a gynecological surgeon.
Hysterectomies are commonly performed gynecological surgeries that are usually performed by a gynecological surgeon.

Another option for myoma treatment is to take medicines that may cause fibroid tissue to shrink. Alternately, women may opt for surgical removal of the fibroids, known as myomectomy. For worst cases, where fibroids are causing risk to health, hysterectomy can still be considered, as removal of the uterus means fibroids can’t develop any more.

A large myoma may cause heavy bleeding that leads to the development of anemia.
A large myoma may cause heavy bleeding that leads to the development of anemia.
A myoma is a tumor growing in or out of the uterus.
A myoma is a tumor growing in or out of the uterus.

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Discussion Comments

powerpost45
@laughlion56 -- Doctors say patience can be the best treatment for fibroids or myomas, because most fibroids or myomas will shrink or disappear in time. Birth control pills, IUDs, and medications that block production of estrogen and progesterone may also help. Ultrasound and minimally invasive surgeries are other options. More invasive treatment options include a hysterectomy and or abdominal surgery to remove the myomas.
laughlion56

Myomas or fibroids are very common and most women never realize they have them. In instances where they do cause problems women report the following common myoma symptoms: periods lasting seven days or more, heavy mentsral bleeding, back aches and leg pain, frequent urination, a feeling of pressure in the pelvis and constipation.

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