Uterine Fibroid: Symptoms, Types and causes
Uterine Fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in a woman’s uterus. These tumors can sometimes become quite large and cause heavy periods and severe abdominal pain. In other cases, they might not cause any symptoms at all. The most common signs of uterine fibroids include:-
- Heavy bleeding during periods that includes blood clotting
- Pain in the pelvis or lower back
- Frequent urination
- Enlargement of the abdomen
The type of fibroid a woman develops depends on its location in or on the uterus.
- Intramural fibroids – They are the most common type of fibroid. These types appear within the muscular wall of the uterus. They may grow larger and have the ability to stretch your womb.
- Subserosal fibroids – They grow on the outside of your uterus, beneath the serosal layer. They may grow large enough to make your womb appear bigger on one side.
- Pedunculated fibroids – They can develop a stem, a slender base that supports the tumor. When they do, they’re called pedunculated fibroids.
- Submucosal fibroids – These types of tumors develop in the middle muscle layer, or myometrium, of your uterus and grows toward the uterine cavity. They aren’t as common as the other types.
It is still unclear why fibroids develop but several factors may influence their formation:-
- Hormonal changes – Estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that stimulate the development of the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle in preparation for pregnancy, appear to promote the growth of fibroids. Fibroids contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine muscle cells do. Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause due to a decrease in hormone production.
- Family History – Fibroids may run in the family. If your mother, sister, or grandmother has a history of this condition, you may develop it as well.
- Other growth factors – Substances that help the body maintain tissues, such as insulin-like growth factors, may affect fibroid growth.
- Pregnancy increases the production of estrogen and progesterone in your body. Fibroids may develop and grow rapidly while you’re pregnant
Women with fibroids can definitely conceive. In fact, some research suggests that certain types of uterine fibroids can change the size and shape of the uterus.
A number of medical therapies can successfully shrink and/or slow the growth of fibroids, such as Homeopathy, Ayurveda, hormone treatments and ultrasound therapy. A conservatory surgical procedure known as ‘Myomectomy’ – which removes the fibroid while leaving the uterus intact is the most popular treatment option. Hysterectomy or the surgical removal of the uterus is suggested only in cases where the fibroids are extremely big, very painful or when there are plenty of small, tiny fibroids and are not responding to other methods of treatment. Having said that, uterine fibroids still remain the number one cause of hysterectomies performed worldwide.
Dr. Usha Agarwal, Senior Consultant – Gynaecology, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur