Whether you have already been diagnosed or have just started doing your research, the term leiomyoma may come up. Leiomyoma, myoma, or fibromas are all terms used to describe uterine fibroids. These are typically noncancerous growths within the uterus that may develop during a woman’s lifetime. Between 70-80% of women will get fibroids before the age of 50.
Leiomyomas are made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They can range in size from as small as a seed to as large as a melon. While some women may not even know they have a leiomyoma, others experience painful symptoms negatively impacting their daily life. Between 30-50% of women seek treatment for their pain or heavy bleeding.
Many women think abnormal periods or severe pelvic pain is normal. This may contribute to the number of women not realizing the need for treatment. Common fibroid symptoms include:
- Heavy periods lasting 10 days or more
- Frequent urination or difficulty fully emptying the bladder
- Pain during intercourse
- Fatigue caused by iron-deficiency anemia
- Severe pelvic pain or cramps
- Constipation or other bowel issues
- Bleeding between menstrual cycles
Why Are Leiomyomas Called Tumors?
Uterine fibroids are also commonly referred to as tumors, which can be confusing to many women during diagnosis. The word tumor can bring worry and fear; however, less than 1 in 1,000 cases are deemed cancerous. When fibroids are cancerous, they are usually referred to as a leiomyosarcoma.
The definition of a tumor is an abnormal growth of cells that are unlike other cells in your body. A benign tumor, which most fibroids typically are, is a noncancerous grouping of abnormal cells. This means that it does not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body the way cancer does. Benign tumors are typically watched by the doctor to make certain that they do not develop into being cancerous.
Are There Different Kinds of Leiomyomas?
The classifications of fibroids are determined by their growth and location. There are three main types of leiomyomas:
- Submucosal fibroids are located within the uterine lining.
- Intramural fibroids are found between the muscles of the uterine wall.
- Subserosal fibroids grow from the uterine wall into the pelvic cavity.
Treatment for Leiomyomas
If you have been diagnosed with a leiomyoma, feel free to explore our website to learn more about your treatment options. Leiomyoma symptoms can be effectively treated with nonsurgical procedures like Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). In a recent study, 90% of patients who had a UFE reported a significant improvement in their symptoms. Our interventional radiologists are look forward to helping you live a healthier, happier life free of painful symptoms.