Fibroids in the uterus are growths of smooth muscle tissue or fibers which make up the uterine wall. For the most part these growths are benign, dense and tend to take on a circular shape. These fibroids occurring in the womb of a woman are understood based upon their location. They maybe present themselves on the outer surface (subserosal), under the lining of the uterus (submucosal), or even inside the muscular wall (intramural).
The causes for the occurrence of fibroids in uterus cannot be pinpointed. However, links have been founds with reasons such as genetic defects, abnormalities in the blood vessel network. A woman who comes from a family which has a history of such tumors may also be at heightened risk. Women of African roots have been found to be more prone to develop uterine fibroids than their Caucasian counterparts. It has also been found that girls attaining menarche prior to age 10, hypertension, consuming beer are all factors which increase the risk of developing this tumor. Also, the hormone estrogen is known to elevate the growth of fibroids. It is essential to note that the presence of fibroids is extremely common amongst women, with more than 50% of all women having the condition.
Fibroids in the uterus generally do not give rise to many symptoms. Majority of women remain blissfully unaware that they in fact have these growths in their womb. In the case that symptoms manifest themselves, the following are the most common signs that are observed.
- Excessively uncomfortable and painful menstrual cycles
- Atypical uterine bleeding which can take the form of extremely heavy flow during periods, protracted period cycles and occurrence of spotting between cycles
Symptoms also vary according to the size and the area of uterus the fibroids are located in.
Very large fibroids are known to cause an acute sense of pressure and discomfort in the region they are situated. They are also known to lead to pelvic soreness. Large fibroids in uterus are also the known cause for exerting pressure on the bladder which in turn causes either recurrent or blocked urination.
Some women afflicted with fibroids may also appear bloated and take on an appearance of a pregnant woman. Fibroids in the uterus are known to have bearings on a woman’s fertility and pregnancy outcomes as a whole.
The treatment of uterine fibroids may vary. The surgical line of treatment includes the following procedures:
Hysterectomy (complete removal of the uterus)
Myomectomy (exclusive removal of fibroids in uterus)
If the non-surgical treatment options are chosen, drugs which inhibit the production of estrogen are generally used. The dosage is generally for a duration spanning 3-6 months. If these drugs are effectual, the can help reduced the size of the fibroids in the uterus by half. They however do have side effects which include hot flashes, dryness of the vagina, and other pre-menopausal signs. The most severe complication arising from these drugs is osteoporosis.
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