HOW ARE FIBROIDS DETECTED AND DIAGNOSED?
Fibroids often go unnoticed because they do not always cause symptoms. They are sometimes discovered during a routine gynaecological examination. A quick check for fibroids can be done with a bi-manual pelvic examination, during which the doctor inserts two fingers into the vagina to isolate the neck of the womb (uterus), the cervix, while palpating (to examine by touching an organ or area of the body, as a diagnostic aid) the lower part of the abdomen.
When the doctor suspects fibroids, more precise tests can be done to confirm this diagnosis. These diagnostic tests include the following:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Transvaginal ultrasounds
A hysteroscopy is a procedure for examining submucosal fibroids through a small, thin telescope-like device called a hysteroscope. The hysteroscope, a viewing instrument that contains optical fibres, is inserted into the womb through the cervix to search for fibroids. Gas or fluid is often used to inflate the womb to give a better view.
In order to precisely map the location of fibroids, a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) session is sometimes used. MRIs are reserved only for cases where non-surgical detection is not an option.
Approaches can be either trans-abdominal or trans-vaginal and include the use of saline solution to assist the imaging process.
Ultrasounds are painless procedures used as an early test for fibroids.
The ultrasound test for fibroids is called a transvaginal ultrasound. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a hand-held probe into the vagina. The probe sends out sound waves that bounce off the structures in the womb (uterus), and a computer creates a picture on a screen that is then used to search for fibroids.