Uterine fibroids are commonly benign (non-cancerous) growths that build up inside and outside your uterus, especially on its wall. Their size may range from a tiny, less than 1 mm to more than a small melon. At times, they may cause the uterus to swell to the size of a lady’s uterus carrying a five-month old pregnancy. Mostly, more than one fibroid is found in the uterus.
Fibroids may not cause symptoms all the times. Their sheer size and the location of these growths may cause problems for some women. They may experience pain and heavy bleeding during their menstruation/periods.
Fibroids may spectacularly enlarge in their size during your pregnancy. This is considered to happen because of the presence of the increased levels of estrogen hormone during your pregnancy. After the pregnancy is over, the fibroids generally contract back to the size of their pre-pregnancy level.
The fibroids characteristically improve after the menopause, when the estrogen level declines considerably. Estrogen hormones are the female hormones circulating in their blood. However, those women who take supplemental estrogen hormone after attaining the menopausal stage may not experience any relief in the fibroid-related symptoms.
Uterine fibroids are tumors found in the female genital region and are better known as just ‘fibroids’ and with some other names like:
- Myoma and
Fibroid tumors are commonly found in the uterus. Most women may not experience any of its symptoms. And, even if they cause symptoms, they are mild.
Types of Uterine Fibroids
The fibroids are known by the name as per their location of growth, such as:
- Subserosal Fibroids
These fibroids buildup just under the outside layer of the uterus and begin expanding outwardly through the uterus wall. With their growth, the uterus becomes knobby in appearance.
They generally do not disturb your menstrual cycle or flow. They are known to cause pelvic pain, typically do not affect a woman’s menstrual flow, but can cause pelvic pain, indiscriminate pressure and back pain.
The subserosal fibroids may create a stem-like base, difficult to be distinguished from the accumulated mass in your ovaries. They are known as peduncle. The accurate diagnosis may be obtained either by an ultrasound scan or magnetic resonance (MR) test.
- Intramural Fibroids
Intramural Fibroids develop inside the uterine lining and begin expanding inwardly, thus, increasing the size of your uterus. During a gynaecological examination, they appear to be bigger than their normal size.
These fibroids are very common and may cause Menorrhagia (Heavy periods), unsystematic pressure and back pain.
- Submucosal Fibroids
Submuscosal Fibroids develop just under the uterine lining. These kinds of fibroids are not very common and have the tendency of causing the maximum number of complicated problems. In some cases, even a tiny submuscol fibroid may cause a gushing bleeding, very heavy and protracted periods.
Dominance of Uterine Fibroids
Nearly 20 to 40 percent of women at the age of 35 and beyond develop uterine fibroids of a considerable size. American women who have had African ancestors are known to have an increased risk of having fibroids. As high as 50 percent of American women, who have African origin, have the tendency for developing fibroids of quite a large size.
Uterine fibroids are the foremost public health problem as they are culpable of hysterectomy among many a pre-menopausal woman. As per some studies, nearly 6 lakh hysterectomies are performed every year, and, out of them nearly 2 lakhs are because of fibroids.
Uterine Fibroid Symptoms
Most fibroids do not have any symptoms. The females who are unable to conceive because of fibroids may get afflicted with infertility-related depression. Nearly 10% to 20% of women having fibroids will need to be treated. Depending on the fibroids’ size, their number and the places where they grow may cause weird symptoms, such as:
- Women having fibroids may experience heavy periods, known as Mennorhagia. They will also have irregular menstrual cycle and their menstruation may be laced with clots resulting in anemia.
- You may also have pelvic pain and heaviness
- You may also experience pain in your back and legs.
- You may also have pain while copulating
- You may also feel pressure in your bladder and repeated urge to urinate
- The pressure on your bowel may lead to constipation and bloating.
- Your abdomen may swell and become abnormally large.