Questions about fibroids

Are fibroids cancer?

No. Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths found in the womb (uterus). They hardly ever become malignant (less than 0.3 percent of cases).

How are fibroids diagnosed?

If you regularly attend for gynaecological check-ups, you will already know that this also involves periodic examination and palpation (using the hands) of the uterus. Large fibroids can often be felt manually during such check-ups. The womb is palpated from the vagina and rectum and via the wall of the abdomen. Small growths in the uterus and the position / size of fibroid(s) can be detected and identified using ultrasound, from both the vagina (vaginal sonography) or via the abdominal wall (abdominal sonography). In individual cases, additional examinations are advisable for fibroids, for example using an endoscope to look into the womb (hysteroscopy) or the abdomen (laparoscopy), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan).

Do fibroids always have to be treated?

If you have fibroids which are not causing any symptoms, it is not necessary to treat them from a medical point of view. You should however make sure you have them regularly followed up by your gynaecologist. If fibroids cause symptoms, patients are generally advised to have them removed. Whether you require treatment and if so, what procedure should be used for your fibroids, depends on factors such as their size and position, and how old you are.

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