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Uterine Fibroids: What You Need to Know


Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus that develop during childbearing years. Medically, they are also referred to as “leiomyoma” or simply “myoma”. According to Women’s Health, about 20 percent to 80 percent of women develop fibroids by the time they reach age 50. They can develop as one or multiple tumors in the wall of the uterus. Size of the fibroids can range from as small as a grape to as big as an orange. In some cases, they can become massive. The Mayo Clinic explains that uterine fibroids aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer.


Symptoms


Women that have uterine fibroids don’t always experience symptoms. Symptoms are influenced by location, size and the number of fibroids. The most common signs of uterine fibroids are:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • Period that lasts longer than a week

  • Feeling of pressure in pelvic area

  • Enlarged lower abdomen

  • Frequent urination

  • Constipation

  • Lower back and/or leg pain

  • Pain during sex

Causes


The cause of uterine fibroids are unknown, although medical research reveals that genetics and hormones play a part. During each menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone hormones stimulate the development of the uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, fibroids contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine muscle cells do. Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause due to a decrease in hormone production. Hormonal control plays a role in keeping fibroids at bay. You are more likely to develop fibroids if they run in your family.


Treatment


There are multiple treatment options for fibroids that are hormone-targeted medications, noninvasive, minimally invasive procedures, and surgical procedures. Know when to see a doctor. If you have symptoms that won’t go away such as pelvic pain, prolonged and heavy periods, difficulty emptying your bladder, and anemia seek medical care.


Featured photo by Shutterstock



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