Uterine Fibroids( Leiomyoma or Myoma)
Fibroids are benign tumors of the uterine smooth muscle cells. It is estimated that 70-80% of women will develop fibroids some time in their lifetime—however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
Fibroids vary in size from small seedlings measuring few mm to bulky masses that can distort and enlarge the uterus. You can have a single fibroid or multiple ones.
What causes fibroids?
There are factors that can increase a woman’s risk of developing fibroids.
- Fibroids become more common as women age, especially during the 30s and 40s through menopause. After menopause, fibroids usually shrink.
- Family history.Having a family member with fibroids increases your risk. If a woman’s mother had fibroids, her risk of having them is about three times higher than average.
- Women who are overweight are at higher risk for fibroids. For very heavy women, the risk is two to three times greater than average.
The exact cause of fibroids is still unclear. There may be more than one factor playing a role.
These factors could be:
- Hormonal (affected by estrogenand progesterone levels)
- Genetic (runs in families)
Because no one knows for sure what causes fibroids, we also don’t know what causes them to grow or shrink. We do know that they are under hormonal control — both estrogen and progesterone. They grow rapidly during pregnancy, when hormone levels are high. They shrink when anti-hormone medication is used. They also stop growing or shrink once a woman reaches menopause.
Many women who have fibroids don’t have any symptoms. In those that do, symptoms can be influenced by the location, size and number of fibroids.
In women who have symptoms, the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Heavy , prolonged or painful periods
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Backache or leg pains
Fibroids are generally classified by their location. Intramural fibroids grow within the muscular wall of the uterus. Submucosal fibroids bulge into the uterine cavity. Subserosal fibroids project to the outside of the uterus.
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