It is unfortunate that the reproductive years of a woman are the very same that women experience the most reproductive problems. In some cases, these problems can become severe, making it difficult to conceive . Fibroids are among the problems that some women deal with during their childbearing years.
Here is more information about fibroids; their causes, symptoms, diagnosis and how they are treated.
What Are Fibroids?
Fibroids are abnormal tumours that grow on or in the uterus. The growths are non-cancerous and affect about 30-77% of women during their reproductive years. Most women may not have symptoms and will, therefore, hardly recognize that they have fibroids. In other cases, however, the fibroids are large, cause abdominal pains and heavy menstruation.
Causes of Fibroids
Ideally, there is no clear reason as to why fibroids develop. However, some of the factors that are likely to influence their formation are such as:
Family history– in case your mother, sister or grandmother has fibroids, then you may develop them as well.
Hormones- the hormones progesterone and estrogen may stimulate the growth of fibroids as they cause the uterine lining to regenerate every menstrual cycle.
Pregnancy- When one is pregnant, there is an increase in the production of progesterone and estrogen which could result in rapid growth of fibroids.
Women who are at high risk of fibroids are those that:
- Are above 30 years
- Are Pregnant
- Have a family history of fibroids
- Are heavy in weight
Symptoms of Fibroids
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Pain in the lower back and pelvis
- Pressure or fullness in the lower abdomen
- Heavy bleeding between or during periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Experience many menstruation days
- Swelling or enlargement of the abdomen
- Have increased urination
Diagnosis Of Fibroids
Ultrasound- this is the most common and reliable way to tell whether there are fibroids present. Images of the uterus are taken and displayed on the screen for viewing.
Pelvis MRI- This is in-depth imaging that helps produce pictures of the ovaries, uterus and other pelvic organs.
Other methods for fibroids diagnosis are such as
- Hysterosalpingography (a radiologic procedure used to investigate the shape of the uterine cavity as well as the shape and patency of the fallopian tubes)
- Blood tests
- Hysteroscopy (a procedure in which your doctor looks inside your uterus to diagnose and treat the causes of abnormal bleeding)
Treatment of Fibroids
The major treatments for fibroids include:
- Medical related treatments- these include pain medicines, birth control pills and IUDs to control the hormones and other medications that will relieve the temporary symptoms of fibroids
- Other treatments–
- Myomectomy (the bikini cut)
- Lupron – Involves the use of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone to shrink the fibroids.
Before settling for any treatment options, ensure you discuss them with your doctor.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019
Sources: healthline, mayoclinic, nichd.nih, nichd.nih, nichd.nih