#HEALTH: Difference between fibroids and cysts
16 January 2023
UTERINE fibroids and ovarian cysts are common among women, but how many actually know their similarities and differences?
Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Wong Yen Shi said fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop from the muscle of the uterus and are often found in women during their reproductive years.
Ovarian cysts, however, are sacs containing mostly fluid and occasionally tissue or blood that grow within the ovaries or on its surface.
Unlike fibroids which are benign (non-cancerous), cysts can be benign or malignant (cancerous).
Ovarian malignancies peak at the age of 60 to 65. However, most cysts remain benign. Cysts and fibroids can occur concurrently, and management and monitoring depends on the size and respective symptoms.
While the exact cause of fibroids remains unknown, Dr Wong noted that hormones, genetics and growth factors are thought to be the reasons.
Like fibroids, cysts occur naturally, explained Dr Wong, and conditions such as pregnancy, pelvic infections, endometriosis and a history of ovarian cysts can increase the likelihood of it happening.
"Fibroids and cysts may also present with similar symptoms, including irregular or painful periods, compressive symptoms such as frequent urination or constipation, abdominal distension or bloating, back pain, unexplained weight gain or even painful intercourse."
Fibroids are more likely to present with heavy menstrual bleeding compared with cysts.
In cases of ovarian malignancies, feeling full quickly when eating and weight loss are among the accompanying symptoms.
SMCV consultant obstetrician, gynaecologist and fertility specialist Dr Farah Leong Rahman shared that most women with fibroids and cysts have no problems getting pregnant.
"Both fibroids and cysts usually do not interfere if someone is trying to get pregnant. However, some of these conditions may cause the fallopian tubes to be blocked or make the environment less conducive for embryo implantation."
"This is especially so in fibroids that are located in the lining of the womb. The biggest worry in having fibroids during pregnancy is the risk of early delivery. If the fibroid is large, it can cause malpositioning of the baby, where the baby's head may not turn down even at term.
"As for cysts during pregnancy, they usually do not cause any harm unless the cysts are big enough to cause torsion or rupture, upon which the patient must seek advice from a doctor before geting pregnant."返回