The Signs And Symptoms Of Exophytic Fibroids
These types of fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus and upward from the surface, rather than on the inside. They can sometimes cause the uterus to look bigger than it really is. These tumors usually show up during menstruation when the body's supply of estrogen is at its peak for the month. Exophytic tumors, which are big subserosal tumors, can enlarge to the point of resembling a pregnancy in its six month of gestation. These tumors can cause a full feeling as well as pain in the backs of the legs and lower back, by affecting the sensory nerve endings.
In addition to causing pain, they can damage the connecting tubes between the kidneys and the bladder causing more serious and possibly fatal complications. They can also grow to put pressure on the colon causing incontinence and difficulty with urination if the bladder is involved. Exophytic fibroids require a large supply of blood and if that supply somehow cuts off, then the tumor dies causing tissue death and extreme pain.
These tissue masses are also sometimes mistaken for ovarian cysts. This occurs when they are connected to the uterus by a stalk. However, cysts and tumors are different in that cysts are fluid filled sacs, while tumors are solid tissue mass. MRIs, or ultrasounds are the typical way that doctors distinguish between the two. Since it is located on the outside of the uterus, this is the easiest type of tumor to remove surgically, if it becomes necessary. Laparoscopic surgery through a small incision in the abdomen or navel is the procedure of choice.
Doctors have also begun to recommend to use uterine artery embolization which is a procedure done through a catheter, which channels an artery blocking substance to the small feeder arteries that feed the tumor. The small feeder tubes are blocked, causing the tumor to die, and the body to naturally expel the dead tumor. This method of treatment has become popular with younger women who still want to have children. Older women tend to select hysterectomy which removes the uterus and makes pregnancy no longer an option.
Most doctors recommend playing a wait and see game with these tumors unless there is accompanying pain or other discomfort that affects quality of life. So as long as there is no pain or no discomfort then leave them alone until or if trouble develops. If pain or heavy bleeding or other problems develop then see your doctor immediately.