This article addresses the subject of uterine fibroids after menopause. It also covers symptoms, treatment, diagnosis, pregnancy, rare findings and research that should interest every woman young and old.
Uterine fibroids tumors can be asymptomatic or cause a variety of symptoms. The larger the tumors grow, the more discomfort. Pain is often associated with tumor growth. Tumors can press on the bladder causing frequent urination and constipation when they rest on the rectal area. Severe pain can emerge from tumors that twist as they grow on stalks.
Unusual bleeding can occur along with pelvic pressure.
The incident of uterine fibroids after menopause is 40 percent. During menopause tumors shrink. Reports have shown that estrogen therapy for menopausal symptoms causes fibroid tumors to grow. Discontinuing estrogen results in the tumors to shrink to their original size.
Diagnosing fibroid tumors can be done through several methods.
A routine pelvic exam can detect fibroid tumors if they are large enough.
Transvaginal ultrasonography is used by inserting the ultrasound device into the vagina. Images of the uterus will reveal any abnormalities. Testing can also be done through a saline infusion that outlines the interior of the uterus.
Treatment depends upon the severity of the tumors. Very large tumors that are invasive to the uterine wall or present a risk of tangling with other organs or vessels may require a hysterectomy. Tumors that are large can hinder the possibility of a vaginal hysterectomy.
Myomectomy can be performed where the tumors alone are removed. This procedure is beneficial when the tumors are non-invasive and easy to reach.
Uterine fibroid embolization is used to keep the fibroids from growing. A tube is inserted in the femoral artery that is injected with a solution of polyvinyl alcohol. The medication travels through the feeding vessels to the tumor. This procedure is one of the least invasive.
Induced menopause is a result of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists. Used to shrink tumors before surgery and reduce blood loss from anemia, it is an option for women that are near menopause that do not want a hysterectomy.
Pregnancy risks can present as excessive bleeding, miscarriage, premature labor, and difficulty engaging the birth canal, long labor and postpartum hemorrhage. A difficult labor can result in a cesarean section.
It is not common for fibroid tumors to be cancerous. According to the John Hopkins University that statistic is 0.05 percent. There is a rare syndrome known as Hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell carcinoma. Individuals will have smooth muscle tumors under the skin and uterine fibroids. Cancer begins in the kidneys where the tumors grow to large sizes and metastasize. Fibroid tumors that are malignant can occur.
Researching the genetic makeup of fibroid cells may show the relationship between certain chromosomes and cancer. There is a relationship between the size of tumors and chromosomal make up. Women with a family history of cancerous fibroids should report this information to their gynecologist.