You’ve been experiencing extremely heavy periods, discomfort when inserting a tampon, and pain during sex so you make an appointment with your doctor to find out what could be the issue. After an exam, your doctor prescribes an ultrasound to see if cervical fibroids could be causing your discomfort. The ultrasound concludes that you have a growth close to the cervix and your doctor suggests you see a fibroid specialist for next steps.
You leave your appointment stressed out, worried about treatment and how fibroids will impact your life. Thankfully, you’re not alone. Over 26 million women between the ages of 15 and 50 have uterine fibroids and have been in your shoes and Googling their symptoms.
Furthermore, there are women’s health organizations like the Fibroid Fighters Foundation here to help you get reliable information about cervical fibroids so you can make an informed healthcare decision.
Types of Fibroids: Cervical Leiomyomas
Although fairly uncommon, cervical fibroids, also known as cervical leiomyomas, are benign tumors that grow within the uterus close to the cervix. Cervical myomas account for one to four percent of all uterine fibroids types.
There are three different types of fibroids:
- Intramural fibroids
- Submucosal fibroids, including pedunculated stalks
- Subserosal fibroids
All types of fibroids are made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. Cervical fibroids may develop as a group or as a singular growth near the cervix. These benign tumors can sometimes protrude into the cervical canal or even the vagina.
Researchers are still trying to pinpoint what directly causes cervical leiomyomas, as well as other fibroids, to develop. However, they are studying how cervical cells react during labor in order to develop new, innovative therapies. New uterine fibroid research helps bring awareness about myomas and promotes how treatment can change patients’ lives. This is because cervical fibroids often cause a myriad of painful, uncomfortable symptoms that negatively impact daily life. Not only does it negatively affect women physically, but mentally as well.
Cervical Fibroid Symptoms
Many women mistake painful, heavy periods as being “just a part of life”; which of course, isn’t the case. Cervical fibroid symptoms aren’t specifically unique when compared to other types of fibroids; therefore, self-diagnosing yourself is almost impossible. However, there are a few signs of cervical fibroids that may be more apparent, such as:
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Severe pelvic pressure
- Discomfort when inserting a tampon or menstrual cup
- Heavy, prolonged menstruation Irregular bleeding between cycles
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
- Frequent urination
- Chronic urinary tract infections
If you’re experiencing any of the above signs of cervical fibroids, it’s important to consult a specialist as soon as possible. Women need to be aware of the fact that monthly periods shouldn’t be negatively impacting your daily life. If they are becoming overwhelming, you need to seek help.
Remember to track any period changes so you can accurately inform your doctor. In addition to painful symptoms, cervical myomas can sometimes lead to difficulties getting pregnant, miscarriages, and complications during labor. It’s important to consult a fibroid specialist if you think you may have cervical fibroids.
How Are Cervical Myomas Diagnosed?
Cervical myomas are commonly diagnosed during a routine pelvic exam, an ultrasound, or an MRI. During a pelvic exam, your doctor may be able to see or feel the cervical fibroid depending on its size and location. If the benign growth is close to the cervix and on the larger side, your doctor may just need an ultrasound to confirm it’s the only fibroid. Ultrasounds and MRIs are also used to determine how many cervical fibroids there are and the measurements.
Can a Pap Smear Detect Fibroids?
A pap smear test involves collecting cells from your cervix to detect potentially precancerous processes before they have a chance to metastasize. Because your doctor will be examining your cervix and collecting cells on a swab, cervical fibroids can be detected during this routine test.
Due to the fact that a pap smear is an annual exam, it can be a good time to discuss any period changes with your physician. This way, your physician can look out for abnormalities in and around the cervix like cervical leiomyomas.
Is a Cervical Fibroid Dangerous?
Just like other types of uterine fibroids, ones that grow near the cervix are not considered life-threatening or dangerous. However, cervical myomas can negatively impact your period, cause painful sex, and lead to difficulties conceiving.
Additionally, heavy, prolonged menstruation can induce fatigue caused by anemia. Anemia is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that needs to be addressed immediately. In the short term, the body can compensate for lack of oxygenated blood; however, if left untreated, anemia can lead to multi-organ failure. Don’t ignore cervical fibroid symptoms like heavier-than-normal periods and chronic fatigue.
If you’re living with these common cervical fibroid symptoms, it’s important to know that there are effective treatment solutions.
Can Fibroids Lead to Cervical Cancer?
Uterine fibroids, including cervical myomas, are almost always benign. In fact, less than one in 1,000 fibroids are found to be cancerous. Getting diagnosed and consulting a fibroid specialist is the best way to avoid a cancerous cervical fibroid metastasizing. Even though it is extremely rare, fibroids are more likely to be cancerous in women who have gone through menopause.
If you’re considered to be at risk, a fibroid specialist can determine if a fibroid might be cancerous by ordering a biopsy. A biopsy will definitively conclude if there is a possibility that your cervical fibroid is cancerous. As we previously mentioned, malignant fibroids are exceptionally rare, especially in women who have not gone through menopause.
Cervical Fibroid Management and Treatment
If you are hesitant to find effective cervical fibroid management because you don’t want to undergo surgery, you shouldn’t be. Non-surgical, outpatient solutions like uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) are able to treat all types of fibroids including cervical myomas. Unlike some cervical fibroid management solutions on the market, UFE is able to target all types of fibroids within the uterus – no matter their size or how many there are. Additionally, UFE preserves the uterus and fertility which gives women more freedom over their body.
Cervical fibroid management starts by consulting with a fibroid specialist and learning about your unique situation. Whether you are considering a surgical or non-surgical treatment path, the Fibroid Fighters Foundation is here to help. We can assist you by providing you with helpful resources about cervical myomas, finding a treatment center that’s convenient for you, and answering any questions you may have.
If you’re ready to learn more about your cervical fibroid symptoms, give us a call at 855.455.5262 or contact us conveniently online. Every day, the Fibroid Fighters Foundation takes pride in helping women regain control of their body through informed healthcare decisions.