Understanding how uterine fibroids cause heavy menstrual bleeding
Uterine fibroids are the most common tumour in women and the commonest reason for hysterectomy. Fibroids vary in location, size and quantity per uterus. The symptoms of uterine fibroids are also hugely variable (pelvic and back pain, heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding, enlarged abdomen, pressure pain and pregnancy complications). Our recent work has confirmed that fibroids are derived from a single uterine cell that goes on to abnormally divide and differentiate into a multi-cellular benign tumour. The variable nature of uterine fibroids lead us to question how these symptoms may be a reflection of fibroid location/size/quantity, how to better treat and diagnose this common gynaecological disease and whether invasive hysterectomies can be avoided all together. We have the unique opportunity to utilise a new minimally invasive therapy for symptomatic uterine fibroids, called Magnetic Resonance guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), to identify and characterise individual uterine fibroids. At the RWH, we will collect uterine tissues from women with symptomatic and asymptomatic fibroids and identify differences in genes and cells. It is hoped that the information we generate will allow us to identify genes involved in fibroid development and the cause of the related symptoms, which may lead to new and better therapeutic targets.
Dr Andrew Dobrotwir, Royal Women's Hospital
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