If you have just been diagnosed of uterine fibroid, you should not be alarmed. Myomas, as they are commonly called, are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. They are not considered as a risk factor for the development of cancer of the uterus, and in most cases are considered to be harmless in small sizes. The uterine fibroid is a condition that usually occurs during childbearing. Uterine fibroid is fairly common, where three out of four women may have it. However, those with myomas are hardly aware of having the condition because they remain asymptomatic.
What happens in uterine fibroid?
The fibroid growths comes from the smooth tissues in the muscles of the uterus. As the tissue cells divide, they create a rubbery mass of tissue growths that are different from the surrounding tissues. These tissues grow either gradually or fast, but they may remain its original size without growing at all. Over time, some of the uterine fibroid may shrink on its own, which is what occurs during post pregnancy. The size of the fibroids may be as small as a seedling and are usually invisible to the naked eyes. Those that further grow in size may cause a distortion to the normal size of the uterus.
What are the causes of the uterine fibroid?
The cause of the development of the uterine fibroid remains unclear. Some postulate that it is due to genetic abnormalities or the involvement of certain body proteins that influence the cell proliferation that cause the growths. Abnormalities of the vascular system can also potentially contribute to the risk factor, including the reaction of the tissue cells during an injury.
The genetic factor is strongly associated to myomas because of the prevalent occurrences of the condition among women with a strong family history of the condition. In certain cases, the hormone estrogen may also contribute to the growth of the fibroids, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. They also sink among menopausal women, but it persists among women who undergo a hormone therapy.
Who are at risk?
Uterine fibroid is known to be common African women, increasing their risk to develop the disease by threefold. The condition typically occurs among this race as early as in their 20's, in contrast to the late onset of the disease among Causian decent who are in their 30's or 40's. Women will likely to be at risk by 70 to 80 percent as they reach the age of 50 and older.
What are the common symptoms?
You may suspect having a uterine fibroid in the presence of these symptoms:
- Painful hips
- Pressure and pain in the pelvic area
- Longer menstrual bleeding
- Heavy menstrual period
- Urinating frequently
- Pain in the back and legs
The prolonged menstrual bleeding is often due to the fibroid growths along the inner uterine cavity and it may cause infertility problems. When the growths occur outside the uterus, it can press on the bladder that explains the symptom of frequent urination. The same overgrowths can also impinge the nerves that cause the symptom of a painful back.
When is seeing a doctor necessary?
While the majority of the uterine fibroids rarely causes serious symptoms and discomforts there are certain conditions that you should look out for that warrant getting a medical care immediately. These symptoms include heavy bleeding, consistent pain during intercourse, painful period, pelvic pain, enlarged uterus, bigger abdomen and difficult emptying of the bladder.
Diagnosis and treatment
Myomas are diagnosed by a pelvic examination or an ultrasound. MRI and CT scans can also provide more accurate diagnosis of the condition. Treatment options range from surgical procedures like a hysterectomy or removing the uterus, including the fibroid, myomectomy, hormonal treatment to suppress the production of estrogen and medication.
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