Uterine Myoma: Is it cancerous?
Uterine myoma (also known as fibromas, leiomyomas) is the most frequent non-malignant uterine tumor. It is also the most frequent reason for gynecologic surgery. Most myoma is asymptomatic and only about one-third of women with myoma uteri become clinically significant to require either medical or surgical treatment.
Myomas are three times more common in black women. They are not common prior to menarche, and the highest frequency occurs during the premenopausal years. In general, Myoma is known to grow and become symptomatic during the reproductive years of a woman. Obese women are also at risk to myoma growth. Studies have shown that women who smoke are less likely to get these tumors. With the high levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones, as in the use of oral contraceptives during the 1960's to 1980's are also known to contribute in the increase of myoma growth. However, the oral contraceptives used nowadays are said to have low incidents of myoma growth. The long-term use of injectable contraceptives, reduce the size of the myoma.
The patient may present prolonged bleeding menses, which is a common complaint. The woman may also note a firm, non-tender and irregular mass in the lower abdomen, generally in the midline. Although Myoma rarely causes pain, the expanding mass may cause pressure symptoms like frequent urination and gastrointestinal discomforts. Generally, an asymptomatic myoma that is less than twelve weeks of pregnancy size will not necessarily need treatment. A pregnant woman with myoma might experience some complications. A myoma undergoing an acute hemorrhagic change during pregnancy can produce a localized pain over the myoma area. The use of analgesics will be sufficient, to give time for spontaneous resolution, and in this case, surgery is not needed. Generally, preterm labor is not initiated by this event. However, abruption placenta is significantly increased if it is clung to the submucous myoma area. An actual interference with the labor progress may occur if the myoma is located in the lower uterine segment. A cancerous change is seen in less than a percent of women, but this frequency increases with age, and in the menopausal women, the frequency almost doubles.
Diagnosis is usually through abdominal or pelvic examinations such as magnetic resonance imaging studies (MRI), ultrasound and hysterosalpingogram which outline the uterine cavity.
The most frequently used medical treatment is the administration of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GNRH) agonists.
In a woman who is derivable of preserving her fertility, a myomectomy (removal of myoma), may be performed leaving the uterus intact. The definitive surgical procedure for a myoma is hysterectomy, wherein the uterus is removed.
In conclusion, uterine Myoma, usually multiple in nature, are the most common gynecologic pelvic tumor, is the most frequent reason for performing a hysterectomy. Approximately only one-third of women with Myoma will have bleeding, a pelvic mass, or pressure in the pelvic area. During pregnancy, may cause pain, malpresentation or abrupt premature placental separation. Treatment consists of medical therapy with GNRH agonists, myomectomy, of hysterectomy. A cancerous change (sarcomatous degeneration) occurs in less than a percent in women with Myoma.
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