Uterine fibroids are also known as uterine leiomyomata. It is a common and non cancerous growth of cells in the uterus. These fibroids are nothing but, muscle cells and tissues and can range up to 5 to 6 inches. It can be found inside the uterine cavity or on the wall of the uterus or the outside of the uterus.
It is seen that the chances of getting uterine fibroids get doubles after menopause and to the age, the chances keep on increasing. Women are at medium risk in Asian countries as compared to high in African countries. Fibroids are generally benign i.e. Noncancerous, but in rare cases, it can turn out to be cancerous.
Although, the exact cause of uterine fibroids is still not known, but it’s believed that hormones for e.g. estrogen and progesterone are the main culprits. Even some believe that, it is because of genetic reasons. The claim is supported that, it is caused by hormones is that, fibroids are rare occur before a woman’s periods for the first time, and generally grow during pregnancy and shrink after menopause.
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids:
Women generally don’t see any symptoms, but at times, they feel heavy or painful periods, unexpected bleeding without periods, or longer periods than usual. If it’s not treated in time, it will grow unchecked and can cause acute or chronic pressure or pain against the intestines or the bladder. Patients suffering may experience lower back pain, pain during sex, frequent urination and constipation.
Fibroids are mostly discovered during routine pelvic exams by a gynecologist or family physician, the doctor checks the uterus, vagina and ovaries to check the primary sign. If the sign points towards the presence of fibroids, then the doctor will opt for more advanced techniques to confirm it.
Ultrasound used can be of two types, transabominal i.e., the transducer of the machine is placed over the abdomen just like a prenatal ultrasound or transvaginal, where the transducer is placed inside the vagina, instead of above the abdomen. MRI and X ray images are also helpful in diagnosing it. Hysteroscopy is the more advanced technique in which, the instrument having a thin scope with a light and camera is inserted into the uterus through the cervix.
Women with fibroids generally, don’t have symptoms, so they may not need to go for any treatment. The size of the fibroids, the woman’s age, and whether the woman wants to become pregnant in the future, can affect the decision to treat fibroids. All the above criteria are also helpful in deciding the procedure to opt for treatment.
Fibroids can be controlled through surgery, medication, or other nonsurgical procedures. However, medication is not a permanent solution, fibroids generally grow back quickly once the women stop taking the medication.
Surgery can be the best for women having moderate to severe symptoms. If you want to get rid of fibroids completely, then you can opt for Hysterectomy i.e. the complete removal of the uterus. The biggest drawback of this is, loss of the ability to bear children ever.
If you want to be pregnant in the future, then opt for Myomectomy, which removes the fibroids without removing or affecting the healthy part of the uterus. But, this method does not completely eliminates the risk for recurrence of fibroids.
There is no known way, that can help in prevention of the fibroids. Exercise and basic hygiene.
In case, you are suffering from fibroids, then visit your doctor immediately, before it starts affecting your other organs. Think about your future plans and plan the kind of treatment accordingly. Also, keep taking your medications on time, so that the recurrence is prevented at all cost.
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