Uterine fibroids are muscular tumors or lumps which grow in the wall of the uterus or womb. They are also called uterine myomas, leiomyomas, or fibromas. Fibroids are invariably non-cancerous in 99% of the cases.
Sometimes uterine fibroids are found alone and other times they grow in clusters. Many uterine fibroids grow in size, others shrink & some remain the same in size. On average the size of these fibroids can range from the size of a large marble to a bit smaller than the size of a baseball. But at times they can be abnormally large in size and trigger enormous abdominal pain and heavy periods.
As mentioned above, fibroids are not usually cancerous but can cause pain, heavy bleeding and sometimes fertility-related issues. Uterine fibroids treatment depends upon various factors including the size, causes, and uterine fibroid symptoms.
Who are affected with Uterine Fibroids –
As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 70-80% of women have fibroids by the time they turn 50. Women who are about to reach the menopause stage are more susceptible to develop Fibroids because they are exposed to high levels of estrogen for a long period.
Causes of Uterine Fibroids
However, doctors are still unsure about the causes of uterine fibroids, there are certain factors which play a role as per empirical and historical data:
Birth Control Pills- women taking birth control pills containing a high level of estrogen are more likely to have fibroids.
Hormones – Estrogen and progesterone are the two hormones that ovaries produce. A higher level of these two hormones during reproductive years stimulate the growth of fibroids in the uterus.
Family History – Sometimes Fibroids may run in the family. If your mother, sister or grandmother have a history of uterine fibroids, you are more likely to have them.
Obesity – being obese or overweight increases the risk of uterine fibroids.
Idiopathic or unknown cause
Pregnancy – Pregnancy increases the production of estrogen and progesterone hormones in your body. This may cause you uterine fibroids…
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids can differ from woman to woman. Some women experience mild symptoms; while among some, there are no symptoms at all. In a few cases, women experience troublesome symptoms.
Abnormally prolonged menstrual periods
Excessive bleeding during menstrual periods
Pain during sex
Pain in the lower abdomen
Swelling in uterus or belly
How are uterine Fibroids are Diagnosed
Fibroids are more often found during a routine pelvic examination or transvaginal ultrasound.
Transvaginal Ultrasound –
This can help in identifying the number, size, and shape of the uterine fibroids.
Endometrial Biopsy –
An endometrial biopsy is a process performed by taking a tissue sample from the uterus. In this process, instrument is passed through the cervical opening to take a small sample of tissue from the uterus.
Hysteroscopy is a process in which a small fiberoptic camera looks inside the uterus. The camera is inserted through the opening of the cervix.
Laparoscopy is a small surgical procedure. In laparoscopy, the doctor will insert a small fiberoptic camera into the abdomen through small abdominal incisions to look directly at internal organs clearly.
Chances of Pregnancy with Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids usually don’t adversely affect women’s ability to get pregnant. A lot of women who have fibroids conceive naturally. However, in some cases, fibroids, especially submucosal fibroids, can result in infertility or pregnancy loss. Submucosal and intramural fibroids can alter the shape and size of the uterine cavity and enhance the risk of pregnancy problems like placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, and preterm delivery. Once these fibroids are removed, the chances of getting pregnant improve as compared to the previous condition.
Uterine Fibroid Treatment
There are various uterine fibroids treatment options available depending upon –
The age of the woman
The overall health
How severe or normal the symptoms are
the size, type, and location of the uterine fibroids
Whether the woman wants to get pregnant in the near future.
Following are the various Uterine Fibroids treatments doctors prescribe after thorough diagnosis:
In some cases, hormonal medicines are prescribed to treat uterine fibroids. As mentioned above the higher level of Estrogen and progesterone is one of the major uterine fibroid cause, medicine including Selective Progesterone Receptor Modulators (SPRM) that will alter the effect of this hormone in the body. These medicines can lessen the size and number of uterine fibroids over time.
This surgery rips out uterine fibroids without removing healthy tissues of the uterus. This treatment is most conducive for women who wish to get pregnant after the surgery. Women can become pregnant and have children after Myomectomy.
This surgery is widely used to remove Fibroids along with the uterus. It is acknowledged as the most effective and sure-fire treatment to cure uterine fibroid.
Lifestyle Changes –
Maintaining a healthy weight may help lessen the occurrence of uterine fibroids. Regular exercise and eating a balanced diet may also help. Specifically, a diet with low red meat and high in green vegetables may help you to lessen the prevalence and severity of fibroids in some cases.
Endometrial Ablation –
This is a procedure that uses laser, electric currents, freezing, or other methods to destroy the lining of your uterus. In this uterine fibroid treatment method, the small fibroids inside the uterus are treated to control the internal bleeding. It is a general minor, outpatient surgery. But most of the time a woman can’t get pregnant after this procedure. So, if you do get pregnant, you’re more likely to have a miscarriage or may face other difficulties during pregnancy such as ectopic pregnancies.
Fibroids are very common in women during reproductive age. They are lumps in the uterus and can be single or multiple. The size of uterine fibroid can vary, from being smaller than a seedling and invisible to the naked eye to being as large as 20cm in diameter, or about the size of a rockmelon. It is suggested to talk to a specialist once you find any uterine fibroid symptoms. The uterine fibroid treatment is necessary for onetime and that depends on the uterine fibroid cause
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