Uterine myomatosis is a benign type of cancer, often affecting women over 30 years of age. It is the presence of tumors in the musculature of the uterus. If a single muscular tumor is found in the uterus, it is called a myoma, if there are more myomas present, they are referred to as myomatosis. In some women myomatosis can cause no issues and be left untreated, however, if any problems present themselves, a surgery is required.
The uterus is one of the female reproductive organs. Its function is important especially during pregnancy, during which a fetus develops inside. The uterus is a hollow organ formed by the uterine body and the cervix, through which the uterine cavity connects to the vagina. Walls of the uterus have three layers. From the inside it is the mucous layer, which rests on the second layer, a robust musculature formed by muscle cells. The outside layer is a fibrous cover. Musculature of the uterus is referred to as a myometrium in medical terms and from this name derives the name of the cancerous disease afflicting this layer, myoma or myomatosis.
The human body is made out of many cells. Based on the organism's needs these cells grow, multiply and create new cells. Old and damaged cells die by the organism's request and are replaced by newly created ones. If however this process is disrupted, the cells will multiply uncontrollably while the old and damaged cells will not die off as needed. The cells then build up, creating a new mas, a tumor. In the case the muscle cells forming the uterine musculature start uncontrollably dividing in this way, they form a muscular tumor, a myoma. Uterine myoma, or myomatosis is a benign tumor, meaning it is not as aggressive as a malignant tumor and doesn't attack other organs and form new tumors, metastases, in them.
Development of uterine myomatosis
Uterine myomatosis is the most common pelvic tumor, present in up to 40% of women in the age of 30-50. The tumor may be solitary, referred to as a myoma, but often there are multiple, known as myomatosis. It is a hormone dependent tumor, meaning that it is influenced by natural female hormones present during childbearing age and in menopause, when regular menstrual bleeding stops due to a decrease of female hormones production it tends to disappear on its own. Its exact causes are not yet understood however, genetic influences play a role as well.
Symptoms of uterine myomatosis
Myomatosis is not dangerous on its own, but it can cause issues to the woman, especially if it reaches larger dimensions. The most common symptoms is a strong and prolonged menstrual bleeding, which can cause anemia and tiredness and weakness as a result. Further symptoms can be a painful sexual intercourse, pain or pressure in the abdominal area and frequent urination, if the enlarged uterus pushes on the urinary tract. Myomatosis can also cause infertility. If it is present during pregnancy, the growth of myomas accelerated due to the increased amount of hormones and can complicate the course of pregnancy or be the cause of complications during birth. If you suffer from strong or irregular menstrual bleeding, weakness and tiredness after exertion, abdominal pain and other symptoms listed above, you need to visit your gynecologist as soon as possible.
Diagnostics of uterine myomatosis
When diagnosing uterine myomatosis a standard gynecological examination and an ultrasound examination is performed. During the gynecological exam a doctor will examine the vagina and the uterus as well as palpate the abdomen. The most important exam for confirming myomatosis is the ultrasound. The pelvic cavity is examined through the vagina and the abdomen by the ultrasound probe. The ultrasound provides the doctor with information about the uterus, the uterine cavity, the size of individual myomas as well as a check up of other pelvic organs. If necessary, the ultrasound may be supplemented with a hysteroscopy, an examination of the uterine cavity by a special optical device, inserted to the uterus through the vagina.
Treatment of uterine myomatosis
If the uterine myomatosis causes no issues, it is possible to go without treatment and only undergo regular gynecological exams. In older women, who have significant issues, are on the verge of menopause and don't plan any pregnancy, the entire uterus may be removed. This procedure is known as a hysterectomy. It is a surgery performed in a full anesthesia with several days of hospitalization. The uterus may be removed through the abdomen through an open incision, it can be removed laparoscopically or through the vagina. Laparoscopy is a method where the doctor makes several small openings to the abdomen. Through these holes, using and optical device and other tools he removes the uterus, watching the entire procedure on a monitor. The ovaries and fallopian tubes are usually left, as their function, tied to the production of hormones, is important. If the woman has already underwent menopause, these organs are removed as well. Other procedure is used for young women planning a child. In this case it is important to save the uterus and only remove the tumors that would prevent pregnancy. These are removed laparoscopically or hysteroscopically. Using hysteroscopy it is possible to observe the uterus's inside as well as remove individual myomas.