Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options for Managing Fibroids

Fibroids are a widespread condition affecting many women. In fact, up to 77% of women will develop fibroids over their childbearing years. Fibroids are abnormal noncancerous growths in the uterus. While they are generally not a cause for concern, they may be accompanied by various symptoms and negatively impact fertility. They often go undiagnosed because only about a third of them are large enough to be detected during a physical exam. Knowing the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for managing fibroids is essential for their treatment and prevention of potential complications.

The Symptoms and Signs of Fibroids

Also known as uterine fibroids, fibromas, myomas, leiomyomas, and uterine myomas, fibroids are typically benign. Fibroids can vary significantly in size and location. The uterus is made up of smooth muscle cells and when these swell, this results in a fibroid.

They grow in different layers of the uterus – please see schematic for different locations:


It’s important to note that not all women with fibroids experience symptoms.

Some symptoms of fibroids include:

  • •Heavy periods
  • •Bleeding between periods
  • •Longer periods
  • •Painful periods
  • •Pelvic and lower back pain
  • •Pressure in the lower abdomen
  • Painful intercourse
  • •Increased urination
  • •Swelling in the abdomen
  • •Constipation
  • •Reduced fertility and pregnancy complications
  • •Chronic vaginal discharge

On rare occasions, fibroids precipitate the need for emergency treatment. If you experience sharp, sudden pain in the abdomen, severe vaginal bleeding, and symptoms of anaemia; seek emergency treatment.

What Causes Fibroids?

Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes fibroids to develop; however, there are factors which may increase the likelihood of their growth. If you have a high body weight, a family history of fibroids, and are 30 years or older, you may be at a higher risk of developing fibroids. Another factor is early onset menstruation and late-onset menopause. Childbearing may reduce the risk of fibroids.

Methods Used To Diagnose Fibroids

Because only a third of fibroids are diagnosed through physical exams, women experiencing fibroid-like symptoms may require other diagnostic methods. Diagnostic tools vary depending on the doctor and their preference, although non-invasive methods are typically the first to be used.

If you suspect you have fibroids, a doctor may conduct an abdominal or transvaginal ultrasound, MRI, or a CT scan. Transvaginal ultrasound is the best way to diagnose fibroids as well as determine their size, number and location.

Treatments for Fibroids

Fibroid treatments range from lifestyle changes and hormones, to invasive, and minimally invasive procedures. The treatment method will vary depending on how manyfibroids are present, how big they are, where they are, the accompanying symptoms, and the desire for pregnancy.

  • •Lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, stress management, and a healthy diet may improve symptoms.
  • •Hormone-based treatments, which reduce oestrogen and progesterone levels, or birth control and intrauterine device (IUD) that releases progestin can be helpful.
  • •Minimally invasive treatments such as uterine fibroid embolization, magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound, and radiofrequency ablation of fibroids help shrink fibroids.
  • •Surgical procedures such as myomectomy via laparoscopy or hysteroscopy remove the fibroids but keep the uterus intact and preserve fertility.

Women should monitor any fibroid-related symptoms and seek medical attention as necessary. Early detection is key in securing appropriate treatment and improving quality of life.

OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care

Condous performs Advanced Endosurgery procedures for women needing intervention for pelvic masses, adnexal pathology, severe endometriosis or hysterectomy. He also runs ‘Hands on’ Live Sheep Laparoscopic Workshops for gynaecologists at Camden Veterinarian School.
Having completed an undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide, he left Australia in 1993 and moved to London where he completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. From 2001 to 2003 Condous worked as a Senior Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital, London. At St George’s he set up the Acute Gynaecology Unit, the first in the United Kingdom. It was also during this time that he developed an interest in Early Pregnancy and especially the management of pregnancies of unknown location (PULs). Condous has developed many mathematical models for the prediction of outcome of PULs which have been featured in numerous peer review journals. In 2005, he returned to Australia where he completed his Laparoscopic Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery, Royal North Shore, Sydney.

Condous was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Nepean Hospital in 2006 and soon was made Associate Professor. In 2010, he was made Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Nepean Hospital. He obtained the MRCOG in 1999 and was made FRANZCOG in 2005. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine (MD), University of London, for his thesis entitled: “The management of pregnancies of unknown location and the development of new mathematical models to predict outcome”.

Condous has edited three books including the “Handbook of Early Pregnancy Care”, published over 100 papers in international journals and is internationally renowned for his work in Early Pregnancy. He is the Associate Editor for Gynaecologic Obstetric Investigation, which is a European based journal, as well as the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (AJUM). He is on the organising committee and is an invited speaker at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) Scientific meeting in Sydney 2013. His current research interests relate to the management of ectopic pregnancy, 1st trimester growth, PULs and miscarriage and the use of transvaginal ultrasound (in particular sonovaginography, to predict posterior compartment deep infiltrating rectovaginal endometriosis).Condous is also actively involved with post-graduate education including the annual running of the Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological Ultrasound Interactive Courses for Sonologists, Radiologists, Sonographers and Gynaecologists in Australia.