Uterine Fibroids: Here’s What Women Should Know About its Causes and Treatment


Uterine Fibroids: Here’s What Women Should Know About its Causes and Treatment

The uterus is also known as the womb and has a crucial function during pregnancy. A medical condition where there is an abnormal growth of the uterus cells could impact a woman’s life, and thus it requires medical attention. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumours that comprise muscle cells and fibrous tissues that grow in or around the uterus wall. Uterus health is of utmost importance for women. However, many women of childbearing age suffer from uterine problems, including fibroids. The fibroids may vary significantly in size, shape, and location.

Let us understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment for uterine fibroids.

What is Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomas, are noncancerous growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus (womb). They are the most common benign tumours found in women of reproductive age. Fibroids can vary in size, ranging from tiny undetectable seedlings to the naked eye to large growths that can distort the shape and size of the uterus.

Fibroids are composed of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They can develop at different locations within the uterus. Below are the types of uterine fibroids:

  • Intramural fibroids: Intramural uterine fibroids grow within the muscular wall of the uterus and are the most common type.
  • Subserosal fibroids: Subserosal uterine fibroids develop on the outer surface of the uterus and may protrude outward, potentially affecting nearby organs.
  • Submucosal fibroids: These fibroids grow into the uterine cavity, causing the lining of the uterus to bulge inward.
  • Pedunculated fibroids: These fibroids are attached to the uterus by a stalk-like structure and can either be subserosal or submucosal.

Causes and Risk Factors of Uterine Fibroids

Many medical practioners and patients wonder what causes uterine fibroids? Although the exact causes of fibroid in women are unknown, some research experts have identified the risk factors. For instance, genetic factors could lead to the development of fibroids. A family medical history where a close relative had fibroids increases the risk of fibroids in women. Also, fibroids are likely to swell during pregnancy when the levels of Estrogen levels are high. They shrink when Estrogen levels decrease during or after menopause.

Some studies show that taking excess alcohol, caffeine, and red meat also increases the risks of fibroids. Other risk factors include age, obesity, and deficiency of vitamin D and other essential nutrients.

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

Often, it is difficult to identify the symptoms of uterine fibroids because, in many cases, women do not show any signs of this medical condition. However, depending on the number of fibroids, size, and location, some women may show specific uterine fibroid symptoms that include:

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain in legs or back
  • Menstrual periods that last over a week
  • Constipation
  • Pregnancy-related problems, including miscarriages or infertility

If the fibroids are large, that could result in weight gain and swelling in the lower abdomen. 

Diagnosis and Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

A doctor may recommend imaging tests, such as Ultrasound and MRI, to determine the size and number of fibroids and recommend the right uterine fibroids treatment. Usually, treatment for Uterine Fibroids is necessary when a woman experiences symptoms that begin to affect her daily life. The treatment would include a combination of medication, including hormonal therapy, and lifestyle changes like exercises and diet. Surgery may also be necessary – such as a Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or Myomectomy (a surgical procedure to remove fibroids). Moreover, alternative treatments, including herbal remedies, are also effective in managing the condition.

What is Myomectomy?

Myomectomy is a surgical procedure to remove uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous growths that develop in the uterus. This procedure is an alternative to a hysterectomy, which completely removes the uterus. Myomectomy aims to preserve the uterus and is typically recommended for women who wish to retain their fertility or avoid the potential side effects of a hysterectomy.

During this process, an incision in the abdomen or using minimally invasive techniques such as laparoscopy or hysteroscopy. The choice of approach depends on factors such as size, location, and number of fibroids. The surgeon then removes the fibroids from the uterus while leaving the rest of the organ intact.

Myomectomy can be performed using different techniques, including:

  1. Abdominal myomectomy: This traditional approach involves an incision in the lower abdomen to access the uterus. It is suitable for larger fibroids or when multiple uterine fibroids must be removed.
  2. Laparoscopic myomectomy: This minimally invasive procedure involves making small incisions in the abdomen to insert a laparoscope (a thin, lighted tube with a camera) and other surgical instruments. It is less invasive and offers quicker recovery compared to an abdominal myomectomy.
  3. Hysteroscopic myomectomy: This procedure is used for removing fibroids that are primarily located within the uterine cavity. A hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina and cervix to access the fibroids, which are removed using specialized instruments.

It is common for women to experience some pain, discomfort, and vaginal bleeding after the surgery. Myomectomy is primarily performed to remove fibroids and is not a permanent solution to prevent new fibroids from developing in the future. New fibroids can still form after the procedure, but myomectomy can be an effective treatment option for women who wish to preserve their fertility or avoid a hysterectomy. 

Now the question arises is myomectomy covered by insurance? Does health insurance cover fibroid removal surgery? The answer is fibroid surgery is covered by insurance in India. You can make a claim in case of hospitalisation and also as daycare treatment.

Is Prevention of Uterine Fibroids Possible?

Although there is no definite way to prevent fibroids, health experts recommend healthy lifestyle habits to lower the risks. That includes eating a well-balanced diet with green vegetables and other fibre-rich foods. Also, Green tea is rich in antioxidants and is known to have a tremendous effect in helping reduce cell damage by minimising oxidative stress. Besides, there are many health benefits of exercise, which will also help reduce the chances of fibroids.

Choose Health Insurance to Manage Treatment Costs

You must be wondering that is fibroid removal covered by insurance in India? Uterine problems may cause serious discomfort. Uterine Fibroids are not cancerous, but women should never ignore these symptoms and should not hesitate to seek medical attention at the right time. Considering the expenses involved in treating such conditions, it is a sensible move to invest in a health insurance policy. You have to complete a specific waiting period before availing of the coverage for such medical procedures. Hence, you should read the policy documents carefully when opting for a policy.

Care by Care Health Insurance is comprehensive health cover. It provides cashless hospitalisation, cover for pre and post-hospitalisation medical expenses, alternative treatment, annual health check-ups, and many benefits that will keep you financially safe.

>> Also Read: Health Insurance Plans for Women in India

Disclaimer: The information given in this article is only for reference purposes only. Underwriting of claims for Uterine problems is subject to policy terms and conditions.

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