Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that are seen in the uterus. The mostly appear during childbearing years. They generally do not develop into cancer and does not increase the risk of uterine cancer. The size of these fibroids can vary a lot. It may be of the size of a seedling which is not detectable by the human eye or it can also be bulky masses that can distort and enlarge the uterus.
Many women suffer from this problem at some point of their lives. Many of them do not even know they have it because it's very difficult to find the symptoms.
Many women who suffer from uterine fibroids, do not have any symptoms and because of that knowing that they have this problem also becomes difficult. In case of patients where symptoms appear, symptoms may vary depending on the location, size and number of fibroids. The most common symptoms in case of uterine fibroids are-
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Backache or leg pains
In some cases, though very rarely, if you do it can cause acute pain.
It is not sure why uterine fibroids develop. But different research and clinical experience talk about the following factors-
Genetic changes-because of genetic changes uterine fibroids may appear. Many of them contain changes in genes that are different from the genes present in normal uterine muscle cells.
Hormones-estrogen and progesterone other two hormones that stimulate development of the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle so that the body can prepare for pregnancy. These hormones can promote the growth of fibroids. It is found that these fibroids contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors in comparison to normal uterine muscle cells. After menopause, the fibroids begun to shrink because of a decrease in hormone production.
Other growth factors-there are some substances that help the body to maintain tissues and may affect fibroid growth.
It is believed that these fibroids may develop from a stem cell in the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus. A single cell may result in a firm, rubbery mass by dividing repeatedly and it is completely different from the nearby tissues.
Sometimes they may grow slowly and sometimes very rapidly and in some cases they may remain the same size. Some of them may shrink on their own and some may start to grow bigger. Such fibroids that are seen during pregnancy may shrink or disappear after pregnancy.
There are some risk factors which can increase the possibility of uterine fibroids. If you are a woman of reproductive age, it can happen to you. Besides that there are other factors which can increase or decrease the risk.
Heredity-if your mother or sister had fibroids, you may have a higher risk of developing them.
Race– black women are more likely to suffer from fibroids in comparison to other racial groups. They may also have this problem at younger ages and they are more likely to have more or larger fibroids.
Environmental factors-some environmental factors may increase the risk of uterine fibroids. Onset of menstruation at an early age, use of birth control, vitamin D deficiency, obesity, diet (more red meat and less green vegetables, fruit and dairy), drinking alcohol are some of the and run mental factors that can increase the risk of developing fibroids.