Fibroid is a common benign tumour of the uterus. Most of the symptoms of uterine fibroids are non-specific. If the symptoms are suggestive of fibroid your doctor will take a detailed medical history, examine you and recommend tests.
Medical history and physical examination
Your doctor will take a detailed medical and menstrual history. The physical examination will include a pelvic exam. This is done to note the size of the uterus and can help the doctor to feel an irregularly shaped uterus when fibroids are present.
If needed your doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests to diagnose fibroids and to exclude other and potentially more serious causes of your symptoms.
- Ultrasound: This is a painless and non-invasive test for diagnosing fibroids. It can be done by the abdominal, transvaginal or pelvic route to identify the number, size, and shape of most fibroids. During abdominal ultrasound, the probe is kept on the skin of the abdomen and if needed the probe may be inserted into the vagina to obtain additional views (pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound).
- Endometrial biopsy: In this test, a tissue sample from the uterus is taken and examined. It is an outpatient procedure in which a small instrument is passed through the cervical opening to take a small sample of tissue from inside the uterus. It may be needed to rule out cancer.
- Hysteroscopy: A special instrument with a small fibre optic camera may be passed through the opening of the cervix to look at the uterus.
- Hysterosalpingography: This test involves injecting a dye into the uterus and fallopian tubes. After this the pelvic area is X-rayed to identify the anatomy of these structures.
- Laparoscopy: This is a surgical procedure in which the doctor inserts a small fibre optic camera into the abdomen through small abdominal incisions to look and examine your internal organs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A pelvic MRI may be done to confirm the diagnosis if there is any doubt.
Your doctor will not recommend all the tests at one time. In most cases ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis. If the diagnosis is not clear or malignancy is suspected your doctor may recommend more tests.