Uterine fibroids are firm, compact benign tumors which are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that originate in the uterus (womb). Sometimes, these tumors become quite large and cause severe abdominal pain and heavy periods. Although it is not clearly known what causes fibroids, it is believed that each tumor develops from an aberrant muscle cell in the uterus, which multiplies rapidly because of the influence of the hormone estrogen.
Most women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms. But these fibroids can also cause a number of symptoms depending on their size, location within the uterus, and how close they are to adjacent pelvic organs. Symptoms of uterine fibroids may include heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods, pelvic pain due to the pressure caused as the tumor presses on pelvic organs, frequent urination, low back pain, pain during intercourse etc. In most cases, these heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, or the abnormal bleeding between periods, can lead to iron-deficiency or anaemia in women.
After uterine fibroids has been diagnosed properly relating its size, location etc. the patient may receive a combination of treatments. The doctor may prescribe medicines to destroy the fibroids. In case the fibroids are large and multiple, surgeries (myomectomy) may be performed. The doctor may also perform a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) if the condition worsens, or if no other treatments work. Also, a new and completely non-invasive surgical procedure can be performed. This is called forced ultrasound surgery (FUS) where high-energy, high-frequency sound waves are directed at the fibroids to destroy (ablate) them.