Intramural fibroid tumors are common tumors that are usually found in the uterus. These are non-cancerous tumors that can also grow on organs that contain smooth muscle cells like the intestines, but this happens rarely. An intramural fibroid grows inside the uterine wall causing the uterus to bulge and appear bigger.
Fibroid tumors are solid tumors which are made of fibrous tissue, hence the name ‘fibroid’ tumor. Fibroid tumors vary in size and number, most are slow -growing and usually don’t cause any symptoms. In fact, most women are not even aware that they have intramural fibroids until they’re diagnosed accidentally; usually through ultrasound for a different condition.
However, 25% of fibroid tumors do develop at a faster rate and will cause symptoms. Intramural fibroid symptoms usually include:
• Frequent urination. The tumor can exert pressure on the bladder, reducing its capacity.
• Difficulty urinating. The position of the tumor can block or interfere with urination.
• Feeling of fullness in the abdomen. The size and position of the intramural fibroid tumor can reduce stomach capacity.
• Pelvic and back pain. This can occur when the tumor causes nerve compression or muscle strain.
• Miscarriages and infertility issues. The tumors will make it difficult for the endometrium and fetus to develop in the womb.
• Severe menstrual bleeding, painful menstrual cycles. Intramural fibroids can interfere with the smooth muscle contraction involved in menstruation and cause pain.
• Bloated appearance that doesn’t reduce in size in spite of exercise and dieting
Left untreated, intramural fibroids can cause complications. They can grow rapidly to the point that it can block the supply of oxygen, blood, and nutrients to key organs like the kidney or liver which can result in organ failure.
Some studies show that women with intramural fibroids are less likely to conceive. Those who do get pregnant have a greater risk of miscarriage, premature deliveries and cesarean section.
Treatment for Intramural Fibroid
The only treatment available for intramural fibroids is surgery. This is why tumors that don’t cause any symptoms or infertility problems are usually left alone. If the tumors don’t cause any problems, going through surgery to remove them may do more harm than good.
But for intramural fibroids that do cause symptoms and produce problems, surgery is needed and it must be done as soon as possible.
There are three types of surgical procedure often used to treat intramural fibroid tumors. The type of technique used would depend on the severity of the condition, the doctor’s expertise, and the patient’s physical condition.
1. Abdominal myomectomy . Abdominal myomectory is an open abdominal surgery procedure that involves slicing open the uterus to get to the tumor. This is a major surgical procedure that would require general anesthesia and several weeks of recovery.
2. Uterine artery embolization. Uterine artery embolization is considered to be less invasive than abdominal myomectomy. It’s usually done in cases where the patient can’t have major surgery and there are only a few large tumors. This procedure kills the fibroids by injecting polyvinyl alcohol beads into the uterine artery with a catheter to prevent blood flow to the intramural fibroids. Once the fibroids lose their blood supply, they stop growing, die and are reabsorbed into the uterus.
3. Hysterectomy. Severe cases of intramural fibroids may require surgical removal of the uterus. Especially if the tumors have already caused significant damage to the uterus. Hysterectomy is also performed when the tumors have caused the blood vessels in the uterus to rupture, resulting in uncontrolled bleeding.
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