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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.