If you have uterine fibroids, it’s important to learn more about them so you can make informed treatment choices. One critical piece of information you should know is what type of fibroid you have.
Fibroid growth is generally influenced by hormonal changes, genetics, and lifestyle choices, but even these factors continue to be debated among interventional radiologists and researchers. One thing that isn’t up for debate: The most common type of uterine fibroids is the intramural fibroid.
What are Intramural Fibroids?
Intramural fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow in the muscles of the uterus. This specific kind of fibroid embeds within the uterine wall and can grow large if left untreated. It is common to have multiple intramural fibroids located in the same area. Doctors are unsure what causes the development of uterine fibroids; however, a common theory is that fibroids are caused by abnormal cells in the wall of the uterus.
Women are most likely to develop fibroids during the ages of 18-35 and may or may not experience symptoms. Fibroid growth is influenced by genetics, hormonal changes, and lifestyle; although these factors continue to be debated among interventional radiologists and researchers. The most common type of uterine fibroids is an intramural fibroid.
Intramural fibroids are classified into the following categories, based on where they can be found in the uterus:
- Anterior Intramural Fibroid —These fibroids are located in the front of the uterus.
- Posterior Intramural Fibroid — This type of fibroid forms in the back of the uterus.
- Fundal Intramural Fibroid — A fundal fibroid can be found in the upper part of the uterus.
Depending on their size, an intramural fibroid may be detected during a routine pelvic exam conducted by your doctor; for women who don’t experience symptoms, they may not know they even have fibroids until their physician discovers them. Some cases may also require imaging tests such as an ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to make a formal diagnosis.
Additional Types of Fibroids
While anterior, posterior, and fundal intramural fibroids are the most typical kind of uterine fibroids, there are other types that you should know about as well:
Subserosal fibroids: This type of fibroid grows on the outside of the uterus and is most often associated with an enlarged uterus. Because the subserosal fibroid is not located in the uterus, it has a lot of room to grow and may become as large as a grapefruit before symptoms begin to appear.
Submucousal fibroids: These tend to be more uncommon than other types of uterine fibroids, and they can develop in both the uterine wall and the uterus. Women who suffer from submucousal fibroids experience heavy bleeding during and in between their menstrual periods.
Pedunculated fibroids: Subserosal fibroids have the ability to grow what look like stalks that connect the fibroid to the uterus, and those stalks are called pedunculated fibroids. This fibroid type can be very painful if the stalk becomes twisted.
Facts About Intramural Fibroids
Intramural fibroids are very common and can often go undetected if they do not produce noticeable symptoms. However, a symptomatic intramural fibroid can trigger physical problems that can be debilitating to your daily life. The most common symptoms of fundal, posterior, and anterior intramural fibroids are pelvic pain, lower back pain, heavy periods, or bleeding in between periods. The excess menstrual bleeding can result in another problem: anemia. When women suffer from this iron deficiency, they can feel fatigued and worn out; anemia may even increase the risk for heart problems if left untreated.
Also, depending on the size, these kinds of fibroids can have a negative effect on the bladder and bowels by putting extreme and even uncomfortable pressure on them. This can cause frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder if it’s severely compressed, and constipation.
Another common complaint with intramural fibroids is that they make the uterus feel larger or heavier. If the intramural fibroid grows large enough, women may notice a protruding abdomen, which can often be mistaken for pregnancy or weight gain.
Also, both intramural and submucosal fibroids can affect fertility and the ability to conceive. In some cases, intramural fibroids can interfere with a woman’s ability to maintain a pregnancy. The good news is these fibroids can be treated and most women experience complete relief from their symptoms.
Treating Intramural Fibroids
At USA Fibroid Centers our fibroid specialists offer a non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). This innovative procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist in our outpatient clinics, without the need for a hospital stay or a long recovery period. Patients receive a light sedative, and the procedure begins with a small incision in the groin area. An ultrasound is then used to guide a catheter through the incision and into the uterine artery supplying blood to the fibroids. Once the artery has been located, tiny particles flow through the catheter and block the blood supply to the fibroid. This causes the fibroid to shrink and eventually die.
During this procedure, our fibroid specialists use live ultrasound guidance to treat the fibroids. Upon completion, they remove the catheter and place a bandage on the incision. Because the incision and needle are so small, stitches and general anesthesia are not required. You are then able to go home to finish your recovery, which takes between one to two weeks. Most women begin to feel better and will resume normal activities after two to five days.
The UFE procedure is attractive to many women because it does not involve surgery and it allows women to keep their uterus intact. Many of our patients can expect to start seeing results within the first month following treatment — fibroid pain and symptoms should decrease, and women may experience a shorter menstrual cycle. Find relief for your uterine intramural fibroids today by contacting USA Fibroid Centers. Give us a call at (855) 615-2555 or schedule an appointment online by clicking the button below.