Uterine fibroid growths are common forms of benign tumors in the womb. The condition is present between 20% and 80% of women who reach the age of 40 and 50. The condition is relatively silent as it does not produce symptoms. They usually cause pain and heavy menstrual bleeding and may cause rectal pressure when they are big enough. In certain instances, pelvic pain is experienced, as well as frequent urination. When the fibroid begins to enlarge, the usual symptom that is noticeable is the enlargement of the abdomen. Uterine fibroids are usually called myoma and they are not cancerous.
Who are at risk for uterine fibroids?
The main cause of the condition is not determined, but risk factors are known. Familial history can make a woman at risk for developing the fibroids and there is a higher incidence of developing the condition among African Americans. The risk doubles among overweight individuals and it is commonly reported among women who are in their 40's and 50's. Women whose food intake usually involve red meat and ham are also at a higher risk of developing uterine fibroids. Medical researchers establish the role of hormones in influencing the fibroid activities in the body, such as when they multiply in the body and when they sink. Estrogen is known to stimulate the fibroid growth, and they tend to grow in numbers during the first trimester of pregnancy. Other risk factors include having a first menstrual cycle younger than 10 years old, uterine infections, alcohol consumptions and high blood pressure.
Should you get treatment for uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids come in different sizes. Smaller ones and those that do not cause any significant discomfort and symptoms are usually harmless and can be left untreated. In certain cases, close observation is required in order to monitor whether they increase in size more rapidly. In order to diagnose a fibroid, your doctor will likely order an ultrasound. In most cases, a pelvic examination is performed, but to ensure that you get the right diagnosis, a test such as an ultrasound, MRI and CT scans may be preferred.
Your treatment options
Not all uterine fibroids will require treatment, but there are different types of treatments available when treatment is necessary under your condition. Most of the time, treatment includes the management of your symptoms.
- Pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are given to control pelvic pain.
- Iron supplements may be taken when you experience heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Birth control pills are also prescribed in controlling menstrual bleeding.
- Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists can help shrink the fibroid. They are administered intravenously or by nasal spray usually prior to a surgical procedure to make the removal of the fibroid much easier.
- Hysterectomy involves the surgical removal of the uterus. It is often indicated for women experiencing heavy bleeding and with large fibroids that may not be treated conservatively. The downside of getting a hysterectomy is not being able to get pregnant again.
- Uterine fibroid embolization involves the injection of a substance on the blood vessels supplying the fibroid to block its blood supply. In the absence of sufficient blood supply, the fibroid will sink.
- Myomectomy is a localized surgical procedure that removes the fibroids while leaving the healthy tissues intact. It is a better option for women who intend to get pregnant in the future.
- Myolysis is a procedure involving the freezing of the fibroid or introducing an electric current to destroy the fibroid tissues.
- Endometrial ablation is a surgical solution for heavy menstrual bleeding. The uterine lining is removed using microwaves, electrical current, wire loops and freezing.
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