Uterine fibroids: current perspectives

Int J Womens Health. 2014 Jan 29;6:95-114. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S51083. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Uterine fibroids are a major cause of morbidity in women of a reproductive age (and sometimes even after menopause). There are several factors that are attributed to underlie the development and incidence of these common tumors, but this further corroborates their relatively unknown etiology. The most likely presentation of fibroids is by their effect on the woman's menstrual cycle or pelvic pressure symptoms. Leiomyosarcoma is a very rare entity that should be suspected in postmenopausal women with fibroid growth (and no concurrent hormone replacement therapy). The gold standard diagnostic modality for uterine fibroids appears to be gray-scale ultrasonography, with magnetic resonance imaging being a close second option in complex clinical circumstances. The management of uterine fibroids can be approached medically, surgically, and even by minimal access techniques. The recent introduction of selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRMs) and aromatase inhibitors has added more armamentarium to the medical options of treatment. Uterine artery embolization (UAE) has now been well-recognized as a uterine-sparing (fertility-preserving) method of treating fibroids. More recently, the introduction of ultrasound waves (MRgFUS) or radiofrequency (VizAblate™ and Acessa™) for uterine fibroid ablation has added to the options of minimal access treatment. More definite surgery in the form of myomectomy or hysterectomy can be performed via the minimal access or open route methods. Our article seeks to review the already established information on uterine fibroids with added emphasis on contemporary knowledge.

Keywords: leiomyoma; menorrhagia; myomectomy; selective progesterone receptor modulators; ultrasonography; uterine artery embolization.

Publication types

  • Review