Home Health NHS warn stomach pain could be little-known yet common condition

NHS warn stomach pain could be little-known yet common condition


The NHS has issued a warning about a common condition that can lead to a variety of symptoms which many may not be familiar with. According to their website, if you experience abdominal pain along with other symptoms, it’s advisable to consult your GP about fibroids. These non-cancerous growths develop in or around the uterus.

Made from muscle and fibrous tissue, these growths vary in size and are sometimes known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas. The NHS state: “Many women are unaware they have fibroids because they do not have any symptoms.”

Despite some not showing any signs, there are others who show symptoms. Women who do have symptoms may experience:

  • heavy periods or painful periods
  • tummy (abdominal) pain
  • lower back pain
  • a frequent need to urinate
  • constipation
  • pain or discomfort during sex

What causes fibroids and what types are there?

The experts say that the cause is unknown – however there have been links to the hormone oestrogen, the female reproductive hormone produced by the ovaries (the female reproductive organs).

The main types of fibroids are:

  • intramural fibroids – the most common type of fibroid, which develop in the muscle wall of the womb
  • subserosal fibroids – fibroids that develop outside the wall of the womb into the pelvis and can become very large
  • submucosal fibroids – fibroids that develop in the muscle layer beneath the womb’s inner lining and grow into the cavity of the womb

In some cases, subserosal or submucosal fibroids are attached to the womb with a narrow stalk of tissue. These are known as pedunculated fibroids.

Do I need to see a GP?

Fibroids often present no symptoms and are usually discovered incidentally during a routine gynecological exam, test, or scan. Nonetheless, if you exhibit symptoms of fibroids, it is advised to schedule an appointment with your GP for an investigation into possible causes, as recommended by the NHS.

Should your GP suspect fibroids, they will typically refer you for an ultrasound scan to verify the diagnosis. Although most women with fibroids do not experience symptoms, these growths can lead to significant issues, including complications in pregnancy or infertility, albeit rarely.

The risk of such complications is influenced by the fibroids’ size and location. Fibroids can develop anywhere in the womb and range dramatically in size, from as small as a pea to as large as a melon.

A GP who suspects fibroids will usually conduct a pelvic examination to detect any apparent signs and may refer you to a hospital for further tests to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other causes of the symptoms.

If treatment for fibroids is necessary, your GP may prescribe medication to relieve symptoms. However, if medication is ineffective, consulting a gynecologist for more advanced treatments or surgery may be required.

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