A Short Guide to Uterine Fibroids

It can be daunting when you are given a diagnosis for something you don’t quite understand. If your diagnosis is uterine fibroids, then there are a number of things you need to consider. Uterine fibroids are common in women and there are many different types of fibroids. Here is a short guide to uterine fibroids and the effect they can have on women.

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are incredibly common among women and will usually appear at some point in their lives. They are abnormal growths that develop in or on the wall of the uterus (womb). They are usually non-cancerous and are made up of fibrous and muscle tissue. These growths can vary in size from something undetectable by the naked eye to large tumors that can distort the uterus. Uterine fibroids develop in singular form and in clusters, and they are also known as leiomyomas, myomas, uterine myomas and fibromas.

Symptoms and Signs

Up to 80 percent of women develop uterine fibroids by the time they reach the age of 50, according to the Office on Women’s Health. However, only one in three women experience symptoms when they develop fibroids. In fact, many women are not aware they have fibroids until they go for a medical examination and a physician happens to spot them. Unfortunately, the women who do develop symptoms can find these abnormal growths to be debilitating. Symptoms include painful, heavy periods, abdominal and lower back pain, constipation, a frequent desire to urinate and discomfort during sexual intercourse. In some cases, fibroids can even cause infertility or affect pregnancy.

How to Treat Them

The unlucky few who experience nasty symptoms can treat them with medication, nonsurgical therapy, procedures that are minimally invasive and aggressive surgery. How you treat them depends on the size and number of fibroids you have and the exact location where they have developed. The American Fibroid Centers offers uterine fibroids treatment to women of all ages and has a high success rate in performing uterine fibroid embolization.

Different Types of Fibroids

There are different types of fibroids. The main types are intramural, subserosal and submucosal fibroids. Intramural fibroids grow in the muscle wall of the uterus and are the most common type. Subserosal fibroids grow outside of the uterus. This type can enlarge and develop into the pelvis. Submucosal fibroids develop in the cavity of the uterus and grow in the muscle layer underneath the womb’s inner lining. In addition, another type is known as pedunculated fibroids. These occur when submucosal or subserosal fibroids are attached to the uterus with a stalk of tissue.

What Causes Fibroids to Appear?

Although the cause of fibroids is not always clear, there are several factors that are linked to them. These include genetics, vitamin D deficiency and lifestyle choices, such as a poor diet or not drinking enough water. In addition, if your family has a history of uterine fibroids then there could be a higher chance that you might develop them too.