Uterine fibroids are tissue growth that appear during the fertility years. The uterine fibroids never lead to cancer and are non-malignant.
Uterine fibroids can grow as miniscule as a seed to a large bulky mass and yet distort or enlarge the uterus. It could be a single or multiple fibroids.
Some fibroids are so bulky that they can expand the uterus and thus add weight. Uterine fibroids are common in the majority of women, however, most of the cases it goes undetected due to no symptoms.
The fibroids might just be visible during a pelvic examination or prenatal ultrasound.
Uterine fibroids might go undetected due to no symptoms. However, some fibroids are very evident because of the many symptoms including
• Heavy bleeding during menstruation
• Prolonged menstrual periods (more than 7 days)
• Pain or pressure on the pelvic pressure
• Frequent urge to urinate
• Difficulty or incomplete emptying of the bladder
• Backache or leg pain
In rare cases, a fibroid can be acutely painful when it outgrows its blood supply, and on the verge of dying.
• Constant pelvic pain
• Excessively prolonged, painful and heavy periods
• Spotting or bleeding intermittently between two consecutive periods
• Difficulty in emptying the bladder.• Anaemic
Clinical research suggests there are a lot of reasons for fibroid development. It prominently appears during the reproductive years a woman and therefore could be associated to
Genetic change – Fibroids can be influenced by the genetic change in the body and their gene content differs from the normal uterine cells.
Hormones- Hormones largely influence the uterine fibroids. With estrogen and progesterone stimulating the development of the uterine wall during the menstrual cycle, it could promote the growth of fibroids.
Fibroids are made up of estrogen and progesterone receptors as compared to normal uterine muscle cells.
However, fibroids tend to shrink post menopause due to less hormone production.
Insulin also might be a reason to trigger fibrous development.
Fibroids grow invariably from case to case and might shrink too. They might grow rapidly or in some cases maintain the size. Often fibroids that are present during pregnancy might shrink or totally disappear post pregnancy.
Uterine fibroids generally do not appear, but during routine pelvic examination. The irregularities or bulky nature of the uterus might give an indication of fibroids. However, fibroids can be diagnosed by the following procedures-
This procedure makes use of sound waves to take a picture of the uterus from inside through an ultrasound device to scan, map as well as measure fibroids.
The doctor might recommend a blood test including CBC to check if the patient is anaemic. In case of abnormal menstrual bleeding these investigations help check bleeding disorders or thyroid problems .
Other imaging testIng case the traditional ultrasound does not help, other procedures can be used to detect fibroids-
The MRI technique gives better visibility and findings in terms of size and location of the tumours. This can further help the doctor decide the type of treatment. MRI technique is mostly suggested in women approaching menopause or with larger uterus.
This procedure makes use of a dye to highlight the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes to map on the x-ray. This procedure is used to check in case of women attempting pregnancy to check if the fallopian tubes are open or blocked due to submucosal fibroids.
This procedure too injects saline water into your uterus for expanding the urethral cavity and then the doctor inserts a small lighted telescope called a hysteroscope to take images of the interiors of the uterine wall as well as opening of the fallopian tubes.
This procedure is usually done in women attempting pregnancy or with women who have heavy menstrual bleeding.
Though fibroids are non-malignant, they can be overly discomforting due to the heavy menstrual bleeding and heavy weight.
It is therefore recommended to treat them as they are diagnosed. Fibroids can be treated in various ways depending on the size, location and symptoms they carry. The doctor suggests a treatment depending on your condition.
Focused ultrasound surgery
Minimally invasive procedures
Uterine artery embolization
Laparoscopic or robotic myomectomy
Traditional surgical procedures
Fibroids do not pose a risk as they stay dormant most of their cycle, however it might be a concern when a woman wants to conceive.
• Heredity- Fibroids run in the family and if the women in your family that is your mother or sister had fibroids, you are at risk of developing them.
There are other factors that lead to fibroids like –Start of menstruation at an early age-
Vitamin D deficiency.
Drinking alcohol, including beer.
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