There are four types of uterine fibroids with submucosal fibroids being the rarest form. A submucosal fibroid is non-cancerous, but it can lead to multiple symptoms and complications for women of childbearing age.
Learning more about a submucosal fibroid and how it can be treated is especially worthwhile if you are experiencing any of its symptoms.
Submucosal Fibroids and Their Complications
Many fibroids will not present any symptoms, but a submucosal fibroid has several troublesome side effects so much so that it can affect a woman’s quality of life. This particular type of fibroid develops in the inner layer of the uterus or in the submucosal layer attached by a long stalk.
As they grow, submucosal fibroids can block and distort fallopian tubes making it impossible for the sperm to travel to the uterus for implantation. This disruption is often what will lead to fertility issues for women with these fibroids.
In addition, submucosal fibroids can cause complications during pregnancy. As the fibroids grow larger and intrude into the uterine cavity, there is insufficient room for the fetus to grow. Consequently, this complication may result in a miscarriage or various birth deformities.
Risk Factors for Submucosal Fibroids
There is much speculation about what causes submucosal fibroid development, though there are no concrete answers just yet.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone are linked to their growth. Family history plays a part, along with being overweight. Women of African American descent seem to be at a higher risk for these particular fibroids, but there is no real clear cause.
Symptoms of Submucosal Fibroids
The symptoms of submucosal fibroids can seriously affect a woman’s life.
Troublesome side effects include the following:
- Heavy flow
- Prolonged periods
- Severe anemia
- Frequently passing clots
- Back and pelvic pain
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Menopausal bleeding
Treatments for Submucosal Fibroids
Interventional Radiology at The University of Kansas can diagnose a submucosal fibroid with a digital pelvic exam along with a traditional ultrasound, and possibly an MRI if more specific information is required.
The first treatment recommendations are usually mild pain medications and increased iron intake through diet and/or supplements. Next there are prescription medications that can shrink fibroids and reduce the bleeding.
If these treatments are not effective in relieving the symptoms, surgical intervention may be recommended. There are several options with some less invasive than others.
A myomectomy removes only the fibroids and does not change the uterus. Depending on the size, number of fibroids, and their location, several techniques are available.
- Standard abdominal incision to remove the fibroids.
- Less invasive laparoscopic procedure where smaller incisions are made in the abdomen with video aided instruments to remove the fibroid(s).
- Hysteroscopy is a procedure that accesses the fibroids through the vagina and used if fibroids are in the uterine cavity.
Talk with your physician about any other alternative procedures.
This surgery will completely remove the uterus, all fibroids and their symptoms. This is major surgery including anesthesia with an extended recovery time.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
For women who seek to remove their fibroid without the need for surgery, there is an option called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). This outpatient procedure seals off the artery that is supplying the fibroid with blood, leading it to shrink and its symptoms to disappear.
If you are having symptoms of submucosal fibroids, contact us today for a diagnosis and a thorough review of your best treatment options.