Measuring the Fibroids
In order to know if iyour fibroid has grown or changed, it is important to get accurate ultrasound measurements measurements. At Women's Health Practice we use several ultrasound techniques to get these measurements done. We know that from a publication in the Ultrasound Obstetrics and Gynecology journal in 2010, in a study by researchers from University College Hospital in London, that the largest fibroid generally grows about 35% per year! Which can be a lot! A women who has had 35% growth of a fairly large fibroid can go from having a flat to a poofy tummy.
Fibroid measurements are typically done on ultrasound, although CAT scans can measure fibroid size as well. The ultrasounds to measure the fibroids are usually ordered when you show up at your gynos, and they really haven't been studied on each day of the cycle. A group of gals all sitting around wondering what size their fibroids are, may also want to ponder just how those measurements were taken. Questions you might ask are the measurements as accurate if the fibroids are measured on your cycle, off your cycle, any time of the day, with a full bladder, from an abdominal ultrasound, from a vaginal ultrasound, in 3D or two dimensions, only by CT scan, on birth control pills, off birth control pills?
The fibroids are uterine muscle wall tissue, it does have glands, as well as receptors for hormones in the muscle itself, those glands are most responsive to hormones, we can shrink fibroids by long enough treatment with reduction of the circulating estrogen levels by giving a medication called GNRH (brand name Lupron), but can we create errors in measurements, or mere changes in measurements by these variations in when and how we get tested? The testing methods do affect the clarity of pictures, and 3D ultrasounds with color flow are the gold standard today, performed through the use of a vaginal probe. Some of these other questions are just that, questions. Most fibroids are about as malleable as an English breakfast biscuit, so that menstrual cycle time won’t change it. And even if you are flowing so that the cavity of the uterus has a bit of blood, it’s just that, a bit of blood, not a bucket, so the uterus doesn’t fill like a hot air balloon poised for take off, although that is what it might feel like. So if your sonogram is scheduled to measure those fibroids up, go ahead and keep your appointment, you need those measurements, and the sooner your get them, the sooner you and your gyno can make a rational treatment plan, no matter what your cycle day.