Uterine fibroids: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Cost and Prevention
Uterine fibroids are the unusual muscle growths that develop in the female uterus. These uterine fibroids are also called “myomas” or “leiomyomas” and are known to increase reproductive health issues such as fertility issues and pregnancy complications. Most uterine fibroids are benign tumors, but they interfere with pregnancy and cause problems. A large uterine fibroid can even weigh over 20 pounds. So far, the biggest fibroid weighed 140 pounds, which is awfully heavy.
- Causes of uterine fibroids include:
- Genetic factors / family history
- Hormonal imbalance
- High protein diet
- Vitamin D deficiency
- High blood pressure / hypertension
- Contraceptive pills
Signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids
- Some of the common symptoms of uterine fibroids are:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding sometimes with the presence of clots in the blood
- Pain and pressure in the pelvic and lumbar region
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Menstruation lasts longer than usual (more than a week)
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Pressure or fullness in the lower abdomen area
- Swelling in the lower abdomen
Types of uterine fibroids
- Intramural fibroids: These are the most common types of fibroids and grow in the muscular uterine wall.
- Subserous fibroids: This type of fibroid appears on the outer wall of the uterus. Subserous fibroids develop a stem connecting them to the uterus, called stalk fibroids.
- Submucosal fibroids: This is a rare type of fibroid that protrudes into the uterine cavity. Submucosal fibroids grow in the middle muscle layer of the uterus (myometrium).
Information you need to know about uterine fibroids in women
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are cells that grow from the uterine muscle. There are types of uterine fibroids, also called “myocardial infarction,” which can grow on the lining of the uterus and put pressure on the bladder or bowel. It can also grow inside the wall of the uterus, or even emerge from the wall of the uterus as a mass suspended by a thin leg in the uterine cavity or in the ectopic.
Fibroids can be as small as a pea bean or as large as a soccer ball, and they are always mild in approximation no matter how small they are. Fibroids do not increase your risk of cancer. If the size of the fibroid is clearly large or growing on the outer surface of the uterine wall, the uterus can sometimes be pulled apart. The growth of the uterus can compress the bladder or bowels.
In rare cases, if the fibroid is large or if it grows in the lower part of the uterus, the uterus may close. In this situation, pregnant women may need to have a cesarean section.
What Are the Causes of Uterine Fibroids? Why do women have fibroids?
No one knows exactly what causes uterine fibroids, but changing estrogen levels appear to play a role in their growth. When estrogen levels are high due to pregnancy or birth control pill for example the rate of fibroid growth increases. About 20% of women of childbearing age suffer from fibroids, but few in women under 30. It is rare to appear in young girls before they start their period.
As women approach menopause and estrogen levels drop, their uterine fibroids are likely to shrink or almost disappear. No factor has been found to increase the risk of fibroids but in women of childbearing age.
What Are the Symptoms of Fibroids in Women?
Many women don’t even know they have fibroids. If there are obvious symptoms, it can include:
- A painful monthly menstrual cycle
- The menstrual cycle is very bleeding and persists for a long time (which can lead to iron deficiency or anemia)
- Frequent urination or a feeling of disturbed urination due to pressure on the bladder
- Feeling of fullness or pressure in the lower abdomen
- Pelvic bread
- Back ache
- Infertility (inability to conceive)
How is it diagnosed?
Most uterine fibroids are found during a routine internal exam when your doctor notices lumps in the uterus or if the shape of the uterus is abnormal. If you have symptoms of frequent pain, your doctor may ask you to have an ultrasound imaging session to distinguish fibroids from tumors and other blocks that appear in the pelvic area. If fibroids have grown on the inner lining of the uterus or in the uterine cavity, they can also be seen using a hysteroscopy, a thin, lighted tube that is inserted into the vagina to examine the cervix. the uterus and the interior of the uterus.
How is it treated?
Most fibroids don’t need treatment unless the symptoms are bothering you and causing you problems. Your doctor will make a recommendation based on the following:
How much pain or blood you lose during your period
- The growth rate of fibroids
- Your age, because fibroids shrink with the onset of menopause
- You want to have children
Uterine Fibroid TumorsUterine fibroid tumors or leiomyomas are among the most common tumors among women. In fact, it is apparent in 25-50% of women, says American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Uterine fibroid tumors are typically non-cancerous; however, there is still the need to be aware of these tumors and some dangers it may bring to your health.
To give you better understanding of these tumors, here are answers to frequently asked questions on uterine fibroid tumors:
What are uterine fibroid tumors?
Uterine fibroid tumors, medically known as uterine leiomyomata or simply myoma, are growths consisting of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissues usually found within the wall of the uterus. Some grow below the lining of the uterus; some grow between the muscles of the uterus, while some grow towards the exterior part of the uterus. Uterine fibroid tumors may grow in clusters or as a single nodule and may vary in size.
What are the causes of uterine fibroid tumors?
Scientific researches have not yet finally identified the causes of uterine fibroid tumors. It has been theorized though that uterine fibroid tumors result from hormonal, genetic and environmental factors, which may be present in combinations in every case.
Are uterine fibroid tumors cancerous?
Though considered as tumors, uterine fibroid tumors are mostly benign, which means that in most instances, they are not as dangerous as cancerous tumors. Cases of uterine fibroid tumors turning into cancer is very rare, however, it is possible. Although having uterine fibroid tumors is generally not dangerous (it also has nothing to do with cancer of the uterus), it is uneasy to live with; hence, women opt to have their uterine fibroid tumors removed.
Who gets uterine fibroid tumors?
In most instances, uterine fibroid tumors develop in women of childbearing age, usually those in the 30s and 40s. However, researches show that women who have previously given birth are less likely to develop uterine fibroid tumors. In addition, it has been found out that overweight women and young African women are more prone to developing uterine fibroid tumors. The reasons for these are not yet known, however, these facts have been prevalently observed.
What are the symptoms indicating presence of uterine fibroid tumors?
In many instances, uterine fibroid tumors do not cause symptoms, but some women having these benign tumors say they experience pain and heavy bleeding during menstrual periods while some experience bleeding in between their menstrual period. She also urinates more often (due to the pressure of the fibroids to the bladder) and feels full in the lower part of the abdomen.
Some women also experience pain in the lower back and pain during intercourse. Other signs of uterine fibroid tumors include miscarriage, complications during pregnancy and infertility.
How are uterine fibroid tumors detected?
Uterine fibroid tumors are detected through pelvic examination. This lets your doctor check your vagina, ovaries and uterus. Imaging tests such as ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), x-rays, and CT scan can also help the doctor detect presence of uterine fibroid tumors in your uterus.
Is treatment necessary?
Treatment of the uterine fibroid tumors is not necessary however since symptoms can be severe on some women, they prefer to have their fibroids treated. The main treatment for uterine fibroid tumors is uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). This is a modestly invasive procedure wherein a small tube is inserted into an artery towards the uterine artery. This allows the interventional radiologist to bring in small plastic beads into the artery supplying blood to the uterine fibroid tumors. In this way, blood flow to the uterine fibroid tumor is blocked causing it to shrink; hence, symptoms are relieved.