Uterine fibroids are a type of benign tumor that can grow inside and outside your uterus. Not all fibroids are symptomatic, but they can sometimes show symptoms of back pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, frequent urination, and pain during sexual intercourse. Small fibroids are harmless, but larger fibroids require treatment with surgery or medications.
Some studies suggest 70% of women before turning 50 are prone to fibroids. The good news is, they can be managed very well when diagnosed early and treated on time. Keep reading to know more about Uterine fibroids.
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are growths composed of connective tissue and muscle from the uterine wall. These growths are mostly benign or non-cancerous. Your uterus is a pear-shaped organ in your pelvic cavity. Its size is like that of lemon, but it can expand to accommodate a baby during pregnancy.
Fibroids can occur as a single nodule or in clusters. Fibroid range from 1 mm to 20 cm in diameter or more. These growths develop on the uterine wall, in the uterus’s cavity, or even on its outer surface.
Fibroids vary in number, location and they come in different sizes. You may or may not experience symptoms with uterine fibroids, and its treatment will be based on your specific case.
Are fibroids common?
Fibroids are a common variety of growths that can be seen in your pelvis. Around 40 to 80% of women suffer from fibroids globally. However, you may not even experience any symptoms of fibroids, so there are chances they can go undetected. This usually happens with small fibroids which do not show any symptoms.
What Causes Uterine Fibroids to Grow?
It’s still unclear why fibroids occur and develop specifically in the uterus, but experts suggest a few factors that lead to their formation and growth.
Ovaries produce hormones such as progesterone and estrogen that cause the inner lining of the uterus to regenerate during menstruation. Any imbalance of these hormones can stimulate the growth of fibroids.
2. Family history
Fibroids are hereditary and can be passed on to the next generation. If your grandmother, mother, or sister had this condition in the past, you might get it too.
During pregnancy, there is an increased production of progesterone and estrogen that can cause the fibroids to develop and grow.
Can I get pregnant if I have uterine fibroids?
This question may have crossed your mind several times if you have fibroids. Yes, it’s possible. When you have fibroids in your pregnancy, your doctor will monitor the plan for the fibroids. During pregnancy, your body has high levels of hormones. These hormones are necessary for the growth of your baby.
However, they can make your existing fibroids blow up. In worst-case scenarios, the large fibroids prevent your baby from turning to the right fetal position, increasing the chance of breech birth, where a baby’s bottom comes first instead of the head. This also increases your risk of a C-section or preterm delivery. Fibroids can sometimes lead to infertility.
Will fibroids go away on their own?
The good thing about fibroids is, they shrink after menopause. This is the decrease in the level of hormones that stimulates fibroids.
If you experience any symptoms, they may as well fade away once your fibroids shrink. Fibroids of smaller size doesn’t even require any treatment, provided they don’t come with any symptoms.
Which size of fibroid is dangerous?
The uterine fibroid size ranges from as small as a coin to as large as a melon. According to some scientific studies, fibroids may grow in clusters or a single nodule, and their sizes can range from 1 mm to 20 cm in diameter or even beyond.
An extremely large fibroid causes the uterus to enlarge up to the size equivalent to 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Fibroids can further form as one large fibroid of over 20 cm diameter develop as a cluster of many tiny little fibroids. Fibroids over 10 cm can grow larger if left untreated, and they may rupture or degenerate.
The larger fibroids have a significant impact on the body, and they can very well take up space of other organs and start causing pain and discomfort.
Here are some effects of large fibroids:
- Swelling in the abdominal area
- Unusual weight gain
- Discomfort and pain in lower back and pelvis
- Increased urination
Many women at any point in their life can experience uterine fibroids. In the majority of the cases, fibroids are small and often don’t cause any symptoms. However, they can grow large enough in some situations and cause severe challenging symptoms.
Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms such as pain and discomfort. Keep in mind that fibroids are treatable and can relieve your symptoms completely once removed.