UTERINE FIBROIDS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Do you always experience prolonged, heavy menstrual periods?
Does it sometimes cause abnormal bleeding?
Do you feel a sudden sharp pain in your pelvic area?
Do you seem to have a continuous urge to urinate as well?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then it is better to see you your doctor and have yourself checked because you may be experiencing the most common symptoms for uterine fibroids.
Curious about Uterine Fibroids? Read more to know everything about this condition!
What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growth that are made up of smooth muscle cells that develop in the uterus. Clinically, they are called leiomyomas or myomas, and though they may appear as tumors, these outgrowths are by nature benign and almost never develop into cancer—they usually develop slowly and eventually shrink after menopause.
Can I have Uterine Fibroids?
A lot of women have uterine fibroids sometime in their lifetime. In fact, uterine fibroids are considered as one of the most common gynecological condition.
Since uterine fibroids respond to levels of estrogen and progesterone production, these growths can develop during the onset of reproductive age when you start menstruating up until menopausal stage.
As mentioned above, the symptoms for uterine fibroids include:
- Heavy and prolonged menstrual flow
- Anemic symptoms caused by heavy flow
- Abnormal bleeding
- Frequent urinating and a continuous urge to urinate
- Pelvic/abdominal pain
- Bloated feeling
- Back and leg pain
How are Uterine fibroids detected?
Even though at least 40-60% of women affected, most women are not aware that they have uterine fibroids because most of the symptoms are silent. Sometimes, uterine fibroids are discovered during prenatal ultrasounds but most of the time, uterine fibroids are only discovered by accident during routine pelvic examinations when your doctor feels an irregular mass or unusually large uterus.
To know if you have uterine fibroids, your doctor may order you get an ultrasound (or other imaging tests if the result provides insufficient data) and additional diagnostic tests to determine the degree of the condition.
What causes uterine fibroids?
Fibroids originate from a single stem cell where certain genes have been damaged. The changes in the genes make the cell multiply faster than usual. With the influence of hormones and other growth factors, the cells divide uncontrollably resulting to abnormal cell growth.
To this day, research has not yet confirmed the exact cause of genetic changes. This condition, however, can be influenced by different factors including your
- family genetics
For example, studies show that there is a greater risk for uterine fibroids for women approaching or in menopausal stage due to high production of estrogen.
Additionally, for unknown reasons, African-American women have increased risk of having uterine fibroids.
This also seems to be true to women who are obese.
There is also a higher risk for you if you have family members (sisters or mother) who have uterine fibroids.
Can I still get pregnant if I have uterine fibroids?
There is no evidence that uterine fibroids cause infertility.
Unless they become so large enough to obstruct the fallopian tubes that can result to a high chance of preventing fertilization.
Also, fibroids found in the lining of the uterus may affect the proper settlement and passage of the embryo, which can reduce the chance of pregnancy and increase the risk of miscarriage.
Do you want to get pregnant with minimal gynecological concerns?
Then, it is important for you to get a fertility assessment with your gynecologist to detect and resolve any issues as early as now.