Subserosal Fibroids: Diagnosis & Treatment
Approximately 70 to 80 percent of women will develop uterine fibroids by age 50. Considering how many individuals this condition affects, it makes sense that different people have different experiences with fibroids. Some women never even notice their fibroids, while others grapple with their symptoms daily.
Fibroids are classified based on their location. Some types of fibroids include:
- Intramural fibroids, which develop along the walls of the uterine muscle.
- Submucosal fibroids, which grow within the uterus’s inner lining, also known as the endometrium.
- Subserosal fibroids, which develop outside the uterus where they can grow into the pelvic or abdominal cavity.
At USA Fibroid Centers, our acclaimed fibroid specialists will diagnose your symptoms, determine the type of fibroids you have, and recommend a minimally invasive treatment that may help alleviate your symptoms.
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What Is a Subserosal Fibroid?
A subserosal uterine fibroid is a benign tumor that grows on the exterior of the uterus. These growths can be attached to the uterus directly or by a thin stalk. They can vary in size and grow on different parts of the uterus, influencing the symptoms you may experience.
Uterine fibroids are almost always non-cancerous and thus rarely dangerous. Even so, subserosal fibroids can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. If you begin to notice fibroids getting in the way of your health or quality of life, it’s a good idea to consult a fibroid specialist.
Causes of Subserosal Uterine Fibroids
The cause of subserosal fibroids is unknown. Like other types of fibroids, scientists believe they may be caused by genetics and hormones. Increased estrogen can cause fibroids to grow larger, leading to more symptoms. African American women are at an increased risk of developing fibroids. Age also plays a role, with most women developing these growths between puberty and menopause.
Risk Factors for Women
While women during their childbearing years have a 70 percent chance of developing fibroids, the risk for African American women is even higher, increasing to over 80 percent.
In addition, women who have never had children or who started puberty at an early age (before the age of 12)¹ also have a higher risk of being diagnosed with fibroids.
Subserosal Fibroids During Pregnancy
Subserosal fibroids are outside the uterus and have less impact on your ability to get pregnant than other types of fibroids. However, they can cause issues with the pregnancy if they continue to grow in size. Because your hormone levels increase during pregnancy, larger fibroids may also develop. This issue can lead to complications such as lower birth weight and the need for cesarean delivery.
Symptoms of Subserosal Fibroids
Because subserosal fibroids grow outside the uterus, they cause different symptoms than intramural and submucosal fibroids. In general, subserosal fibroids tend to have less impact on the function of the uterus and more impact on neighboring organs, such as the bladder. Common symptoms include:
- A feeling of heaviness or fullness
- Frequent need to urinate
- Constipation or bloating
- Abdominal pain or cramping
At USA Fibroid Centers, we want to help women find freedom from painful and inconvenient fibroid symptoms. We offer a quick, free online tool to see if your symptoms could be fibroid related. Check it out below!
How are Subserosal Uterine Fibroids Diagnosed?
Subserosal uterine fibroids are often diagnosed through a visit with your healthcare provider. Your doctor may feel them during a routine pelvic exam and may order additional tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Other Types of Fibroids
Subserosal fibroids are just one type of fibroid that may cause you to feel symptoms. A fibroid specialist may find any of these:
- Intramural fibroids grow inside the uterine wall.
- Submucosal fibroids grow in the lining of the uterus.
- Pedunculated fibroids are attached to the uterus by a stalk or peduncle.
- Calcified fibroids outgrow the blood supply and degenerates or calcifies.
Do Subserosal Fibroids Need to Be Removed?
Subserosal fibroids should be treated to alleviate painful symptoms and avoid complications. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) fibroid treatment is a non-surgical procedure that uses advanced technology to shrink fibroids. In this outpatient procedure, your fibroid specialist will locate the affected artery via imaging and insert a tiny arterial catheter. They will then inject embolic material into the artery to stop blood flow to the fibroid. Once the subserosal fibroid loses its supply of nutrients, it shrinks and dies.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
UFE is a minimally invasive, FDA-approved treatment used to shrink fibroids and reduce or eliminate symptoms, allowing for a shorter recovery time than surgery. The procedure itself is not painful or disfiguring; you will leave with only a band-aid. Because the treatment is performed through the artery that feeds the fibroid, no sutures or additional wound care are needed.
In addition to its reduced recovery time, UFE offers several advantages over surgical fibroid treatments. Unlike hysterectomy, UFE preserves the uterus and does not impact your fertility. Likewise, this treatment does not create any uterine scarring that can lead to complications with pregnancy, as is the case with myomectomy.
Your healthcare provider may suggest other treatment options for dealing with subserosal uterine fibroids. The most common type of treatment recommended is a hysterectomy, a surgery that removes the uterus. This solution prevents the future development of fibroids, but it also permanently eliminates the woman’s ability to conceive, which may make it a less-than-ideal option for women who still wish to become pregnant.
Myomectomy is another commonly recommended surgery for treating uterine fibroids. Unlike hysterectomy, this procedure leaves the uterus intact and removes fibroids directly through incisions in the abdomen. While it preserves the uterus and is effective at removing existing fibroids, myomectomy does not prevent fibroids from growing in the future. In addition, it can cause scarring of the uterine tissue, possibly leading to complications with pregnancy.
The right treatment option will depend on the size and location of your fibroids, as well as your personal preferences. Speak to your doctor to determine the best treatment for you.
Get Help for Fibroids with USA Fibroid Centers
Living with symptoms of subserosal fibroids can be difficult, but there is hope. At USA Fibroid Centers, we know what a huge difference non-surgical fibroid treatment can make in our patients’ lives, and we’re dedicated to helping women l find relief. To talk to one of our fibroid specialists, schedule a consultation today or call us at 855.615.2555 to set up an appointment at one of our centers around the country.
Subserosal fibroids are like other uterine fibroids in one aspect – they are benign. They don’t increase the risk of developing uterine cancer and rarely turn into cancer.
Subserosal fibroids aren’t dangerous, but they can cause severe discomfort and impact nearby organs, such as the bladder and bowels. This type of fibroid can lead to abdominal cramping, pain in the lower back and legs, and pain during sex. As they press on other organs, these fibroids can also lead to constipation and frequent urination. In addition, subserosal fibroids can cause severe pain if they are pedunculated (growing on a stalk) and the stalk becomes twisted, cutting off the blood supply.
Studies indicate that subserosal fibroids don’t have as much impact on your ability to get pregnant as other types of fibroids unless they grow larger. If they get bigger during pregnancy, they can limit the amount of space the baby has to grow and cause difficulty with natural childbirth.
Don’t Suffer Another Day
Life with fibroids can be painful and challenging. Timely detection and treatment of fibroids can relieve symptoms, as well as reduce your risk for hysterectomy.855.615.2555 Schedule Online