What Are Fibroids?

What-about-fibroids-blog-imageFibroids are, generally, noncancerous (benign) growths of the uterus that often occur during a woman’s childbearing years. They are also commonly referred to as uterine fibroids, fibromyomas, leiomyomas or myomas. Fibroids are growths of smooth muscle and fibrous tissue. Fibroids can range in size, from very small to as large as a grapefruit. It is not uncommon for women to develop uterine fibroids; thankfully they aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer.

Types Of Fibroids

There are four types of fibroids:

  • Intramural fibroids – Grow within the muscular wall of the uterus and are the most common type of fibroid.
  • Submucosal fibroids – Grow in the uterine lining and may cause heavier than normal menstrual bleeding.
  • Subserosal fibroids – Grow outwards from the outer covering of the uterus and may create pressure on the bladder resulting in incontinence and the constant urge to urinate.
  • Pedunculated fibroids – have a stalk attaching them to the uterus and may grow either on the outside of the uterus or inside it.

Who Is At Risk?

As many as 3 out of 4 women have uterine fibroids sometime during their lives, but most are unaware of them because they often cause no symptoms. Your doctor may discover fibroids incidentally during a pelvic exam or prenatal ultrasound. Women between the ages of 30 to 50 are the most likely to develop fibroids. Also, overweight and obese women are at much higher risk of developing fibroids, as compared to women of average weight.

How Are Fibroids Diagnosed?

Typically, fibroids are discovered on a routine visit to your doctor during a vaginal examination. Whereas most women will not know they have fibroids, it is very important to have regular examinations, especially for those with higher risk factors.

Here are some other methods of detection for uterine fibroids:

  • Ultrasound – If the doctor thinks fibroids may be present he/she may use an ultrasound scan to determine their presence.
  • Hysteroscopy – This involves a small scope that examines the inside of the uterus. During this procedure, if necessary, a biopsy can be taken of the lining of the uterus.
  • Laparoscopy – This involves a device that allows your doctor to visualize inside your abdomen. Laparoscopy looks at the outside of the uterus – where the doctor examines its size and shape.

In conclusion, it is not uncommon for a woman to have uterine fibroids, and in most cases they experience no complications. However, some patients may experience symptoms so severe it disrupts their everyday lives, to the extent where routine task can become impossible.

If you feel you may have the symptoms or have been diagnosed with uterine fibroid tumors, it is a good idea to discuss all of the available treatments for fibroids with a qualified doctor.

Looking For More Information On Treating Uterine Fibroids?

Call Acessa Health at 877.412.3828.

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Fibroid

Fibroid_LI-00-0159-AA uterine fibroid is a benign (usually non-cancerous) tumor that develops in the smooth muscle-tissue of the uterus. Although made up of the same fibrous muscle as the uterine wall, the fibroid nodule is much denser. A fibroid can grow on either the inside or outside wall of the uterus, and can range in size from a small lesion to golf-ball size nodules, and, on rare occasions, a fibroid may completely fill the womb.

Types of Fibroids

There are four types of benign fibroids: Intramural, Subserosal, Submucosal, and Pedunculated. Each type of fibroid is located in and around the uterine wall, with the Intramural Fibroid being the most common.

As all women are different, so too are the size and amount of fibroids they may experience. While almost all women will develop a fibroid during their reproductive years, some may only have one fibroid, while others may have dozens.

Symptoms of Fibroids

Most women will not experience any fibroid symptoms, however, being aware of the warning signs is beneficial in addressing the issue early. Symptoms of a fibroid may not be limited to just one of the following issues, with some women experiencing what is often referred to as ‘mass-effect’ symptoms.

The size and location of the fibroid(s) determines the extent of symptoms each individual experiences. These include:

  • Abnormal Menstruation
    This fibroid symptom includes any bleeding or spotting between periods, and/or prolonged and excessive menstrual bleeding. Large clots may also be passed, and in some instances, heavier than normal menstruation can lead to gynecologic hemorrhage and severe anemia – as a co-existing disorder, fatigue, appearing pale, shortness of breath and heart palpitations may also occur.
  • Pelvic pain and discomfort
    Severe cramping may occur with fibroids, more so when experiencing excessive menstrual bleeding, and can also produce a feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen. A larger fibroid can also put pressure on the surrounding structures, and if nerves are compressed, can produce lower-back pain, and pain in the sides and legs.
  • Frequent Urination and Constipation
    When a fibroid compresses the bladder, it decreases the bladder’s capacity to hold waste, and induces an increased need to urinate, and can lead to incontinence. Pressure placed on the bowel and rectum can result in constipation or difficulty during bowel movements.
  • Distorted Abdomen
    As a fibroid increases in size, they can expand above and over the pelvic bone, producing a paunch or the appearance of pregnancy. Depending on the location, when fibroids get large enough, they can be clearly felt by palpating the abdomen.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
    In some cases, a fibroid can distort the vagina causing pain, and sometimes bleeding during sexual intercourse. (Note: painful intercourse may have other causes, and not necessarily be a symptom of uterine fibroids. As such, a medical diagnosis should be sought.)
  • Reproductive Dysfunction
    While studies are still in their early stages, and have elicited controversy, complications such as recurrent miscarriages, infertility, premature labor and complication during labormayhave a causal effect when a fibroid(s) causes distortion of the uterus.

When To Seek Medical Advice For Fibroids

While most women won’t experience any fibroid symptoms, or only mild symptomatic issues, which can be managed during annual check-ups, there are instances where medical advice and intervention is required. Seeking medical advice early on is the best course of action, especially if the severity of the symptom(s) is impacting negatively on your health and well being.

For More Information

The Acessa System from Acessa Health is specifically designed to treat all the fibroids, and just the fibroids, while preserving the patient’s uterus. For more information or to locate a physician who provides treatment using the Acessa System, please call us at 877-412-3828 or fill out our Contact form.

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Fibroid Tumor

Fibroids-LI-00-0157-AA uterine fibroid tumor is a mass of tissue that grows in on or the uterus. Although these tumors can grow quite large and cause health problems, they are usually not cancerous.

It is not known exactly what causes a fibroid tumor to develop, but research has shown that their growth is linked to a woman’s estrogen levels. Estrogen is a sex hormone that regulates the female reproductive cycle, which is why women are more likely to suffer from uterine fibroids during their fertile years. When estrogen levels rise during pregnancy, fibroid tumors usually grow, and they often shrink when estrogen levels drop, for example after a pregnancy or during menopause.

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are very common. This condition affects as many as 70% of women by the time they reach 50[1], although not all fibroid tumors cause symptoms. Some fibroid tumors are so small they can only be seen with a microscope. Larger tumors are more likely to cause unpleasant symptoms[2], which include the following.

  • Heavy, long periods
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Pain
  • Constipation
  • Backache
  • Frequent need to urinate, sometimes with difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Miscarriage and infertility

Types of Fibroid Tumors

There are several different types of fibroid tumor, and the different types all have slightly different symptoms.

Submucosal fibroids grow inside the uterus. This type of fibroid tumor is the most likely to cause abnormal bleeding, heavy periods, and reproductive problems.

Subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus. These fibroids are often painful and can cause other symptoms, such as problems with urinating or passing bowel movements, because they can press on nearby organs such as the bladder and bowel. Backache can even result from subserosal fibroids if the tumors press on the spinal nerves.

Intramural fibroids grow within the uterine wall. Intramural fibroids can grow inwards or outwards to develop into submucosal or subserosal fibroids.

Pedunculated fibroids are attached to the uterine wall by a long stalk of tissue. They can become very painful if the stalk becomes twisted, which cuts off the blood supply to the fibroid tumor.

Ways To Treat Fibroids

A fibroid tumor can be removed surgically, but this is not always necessary. Women who want to have children and are struggling to get pregnant may have their chances of conceiving improved by fibroid tumor removal. Women who have severe pain or other complications resulting from uterine fibroids may also be advised to have them removed.

Many fibroids do not cause symptoms and therefore can be left untreated. The growth of a fibroid tumor can be slowed or even reversed by hormone injections, which reduce the amount of estrogen produced by the body. Birth control pills can be used to control heavy bleeding, and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can reduce the painful cramps associated with menstruation.

Patient Information

To learn about physicians near you who use the Acessa system, please call us at 877-412-3828.


[1] Hartmann et al. Economic burden of uterine leiomyomata. Obstet Gynecol. 2006; 108(4):930-937.

[2] US Markets for Gynecological Devices 2011. Millennium Research Group, Inc. 2010.

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Fibroid Tumors – What Are They?

They vary in size from microscopic to the size of a grapefruit. Uterine fibroid tumors are usually diagnosed during a routine pelvic exam. Their exact cause is unknown but there are several contributing factors.

What are fibroid tumors caused by?

Doctors have been able to draw correlations between the following conditions/factors and the development of fibroid tumors.

Estrogen. The more estrogen present, the more rapidly fibroid tumors grow; which is why they are never diagnosed in pre-pubescent girls. While its debatable whether or not estrogen causes them, it definitely plays a role in whether or not a women displays symptoms and/or requires treatment. Uterine fibroids are most common in women between the ages of 30 and 50, and much less prevalent in post-menopausal women.

Obesity. Women who are excessively overweight are two-times more likely to develop fibroid tumors.

Diet. Diets heavier in red meat has been linked to the growth of uterine fibroids, while those who eat plenty of green vegetables seem to be less susceptible.

Genetic predisposition. Women who have mothers or grandmothers with a history of fibroid tumors are more likely to develop them, as well.

Race. African American women are more likely to develop uterine fibroids than any other race and can develop them in their 20s, which is earlier than most other women.

There are several different types of fibroid tumors:

Submucosal – Lie just under the mucous lining of the uterus and they frequently cause bleeding outside of the normal menstrual cycle.

Intramural – Occur in the wall of the uterus and can cause uterine bulking or pain as fibroids get larger.

Subserosal – Located on the outside layer of the uterine wall, and cause problems as they grow and come in contact with other organs.

Pedunculated – These fibroid tumors grow on a stalk, and are generally occur as pedunculated submucosal or subserosal fibroid tumors. They may be symptomatic in the same manner as non-pedunculated tumors.

Symptoms and Treatment of Fibroid Tumors

The most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:

  • Heavy menstrual periods with prolonged bleeding
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Pain in the pelvic/lower abdominal region
  • A feeling of fullness, or actual enlargement, of the pelvic/lower abdominal region
  • Bladder pressure and/or increased need to urinate
  • Lower back pain/pressure

Treatments for fibroid tumors may vary. Small tumors will usually go untreated, unless they are symptomatic. Some tumors respond well to medicine, which causes them to shrink. Larger tumors may need to be removed via surgery. Women should notify their doctor(s) if they have a family history of fibroid tumors and make an appointment if they experience any symptoms. Thankfully, the majority of women with fibroid tumors will never experience symptoms requiring invasive treatment.

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