Fibroids are the most frequently seen tumors of the female reproductive system. Fibroids, also known as uterine myomas, leiomyomas, or fibromas, are firm, compact tumors that are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develop in the uterus. It’s possible to have one or several fibroids, which can vary in size from 1 mm to more than 20 cm in width. Not all fibroids need to be treated, but for those that do there are various treatments available. The most suitable treatment for you will depend on factors such as the size of the fibroid(s), your symptoms, your age and whether you may be planning future pregnancies.
Traditional surgical procedures
Abdominal myomectomy. If you have multiple fibroids, very large fibroids or very deep fibroids, your doctor may use an open abdominal surgical procedure to remove the fibroids. Many women who are told that hysterectomy is their only option can have an abdominal myomectomy instead. However, scarring after surgery can affect future fertility.
Hysterectomy. This surgery — the removal of the uterus — remains the only proven permanent solution for uterine fibroids. But hysterectomy is major surgery.
Hysterectomy ends your ability to bear children. If you also elect to have your ovaries removed, the surgery brings on menopause and the question of whether you’ll take hormone replacement therapy. Most women with uterine fibroids may be able to choose to keep their ovaries.
You may also face an increased long-term risk of heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) diseases and certain metabolic conditions after a hysterectomy, especially if you have the surgery before age 35, according to recent research. Talk with your doctor about treatment options for your condition, to see if there are any alternatives that you might consider.