Uterine fibroids, medically termed as leiomyomas, are the benign (non-cancerous) growths that may develop in the muscle of the uterus. The size of a fibroid may range from very tiny (less than one inch) mass to a melon sized mass. You may have one fibroid or many fibroids of different sizes. According to National Institute of Health (NIH), nearly 70% to 80% of women experience fibroids by the age of 50.
Uterine fibroids may drastically affect a women’s quality of life. A very large-sized fibroid expands the uterus to a size of 18 weeks pregnancy. In addition to this, the fibroids compress the bowel or the bladder leading to constipation or frequent urination.
The cause of uterine fibroids is still unclear. But the experts believe that the following factors may cause uterine fibroids.
In most of the cases, uterine fibroids do not cause any symptoms. The symptoms may occur depending on the location, size, and number of fibroids. The most common symptoms of uterine fibroids are listed below:
The factors that increase the risk of uterine fibroids include the following:
Uterine fibroids may not lead to life-threatening complications; however, it may cause discomfort. The presence of fibroids in the uterus may cause heavy blood loss during menstruation, and this may lead to iron deficiency anemia. In pregnant women, uterine fibroids may increase the risk of placental abruption, preterm delivery, and inadequate development of the fetus.
In most of the cases, uterine fibroid remains unnoticed and discovered incidentally during a routine check-up. If your doctor suspects uterine fibroids, any of the following tests might be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment for uterine fibroids depends on your age, the size of the fibroid, and extent or severity of the condition. Your doctor might order a combination of following treatments.
Medications: The medications are used to relieve the symptoms such as discomfort, pelvic pain, and massive blood loss (menstrual cycle). Your doctor might prescribe the drugs that shrink the fibroids. The drugs include:
Minimally invasive procedures: Your doctor might suggest certain procedures to destroy the uterine fibroids and include: