Fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or on a woman’s uterus.
Sometimes, these tumors become quite large and cause severe abdominal
pain and heavy periods. In other cases, they cause no signs or
symptoms at all. The growths are typically benign (noncancerous).
Another medical term for fibroids is “leiomyoma” (leye-oh-meye-OH-muh)
or just “myoma”. Fibroids can grow as a single tumor, or there can be
many of them in the uterus. They can be as small as an apple seed or
as big as a grapefruit. In unusual cases they can become very large.
About 70 to 80 percent of women develop fibroids by the time they
reach age 50. Fibroids are most common in women in their 40s and early
50s. Not all women with fibroids have symptoms. Women who do have
symptoms often find fibroids hard to live with. Some have pain and
heavy menstrual bleeding. Fibroids also can put pressure on the
bladder, causing frequent urination, or the rectum, causing rectal
pressure. Should the fibroids get very large, they can cause the
abdomen (stomach area) to enlarge, making a woman look pregnant.
Types of Fibroids
The name given to fibroids determine where is been located, different
fibroids develop in different locations in and on the uterus.
Intramural Fibroids: They are the most common type of fibroid. These
types appear within the lining of the uterus (endometrium). Intramural
fibroids may grow larger and actually stretch your womb.
Subserosal Fibroids: They form on the outside of the uterus, which is
called the serosa. They may grow large enough to make the womb appear
bigger on one side.
Pedunculated Fibroids: When subserosal tumors develop a stem (a
slender base that supports the tumor), they become pedunculated
Submucosal Fibroids: These types of tumors develop in the inner lining
(myometrium) of the uterus. Submucosal tumors are not as common as
other types, but when they do develop, they may cause heavy menstrual
bleeding and trouble conceiving.
What Causes Fibroid?
It is unclear why fibroids develop, but several factors may influence
their formation. Some of these factors are:
Hormones: Estrogen and progesterone are the hormones produced by the
ovaries. They cause the uterine lining to regenerate during each
menstrual cycle and may stimulate the growth of fibroids.
Age: Fibroids become more common as women age, especially during the
30s and 40s through menopause. After menopause, fibroids usually
Family history: Having a family member with fibroids increases your
risk. If a woman’s mother had fibroids, her risk of having them is
about three times higher than average.
Ethnic origin: African women are more likely to develop fibroids than
Obesity: Women who are overweight are at higher risk for fibroids. For
very heavy women, the risk is two to three times greater than average.
Eating habits: Eating a lot of red meat (e.g., beef) and ham is linked
with a higher risk of fibroids. Eating plenty of green vegetables
seems to protect women from developing fibroids.
What Are the Symptoms of Fibroid?
Symptoms will depend on the location and size of the tumor(s) and the
number of tumors. If tumor is very small, or if the patient is going
through menopause, she may not have any symptoms. Fibroids may shrink
during and after menopause.
Symptoms of fibroids may include:
Heavy bleeding between or during periods that includes blood clots
Pain in the pelvis and/or lower back
Increased menstrual cramping
Pain during intercourse
Menstruation that lasts longer than usual
Pressure or fullness in the lower abdomen
Swelling or enlargement of the abdomen
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What if I become pregnant and have fibroids?
Apart from generating symptoms, such as heavy Vag!nal bleeding, severe
pelvic and back pain, constipation, and bloating, the most common
problems seen in pregnant women with fibroids are:
Premature Labour: Depending on the location and size of the fibroids,
pregnant women with fibroids may be at a greater risk of experiencing
Miscarriages: Due to the increase in estrogen levels during pregnancy,
fibroids can enlarge and displace the placenta. Large fibroids in the
uterine cavity can create a shortage of space and hinder the growth of
the baby, which may either lead to miscarriage or cause congenital
deformities in the baby.
Cesarean Birth: Multiple fibroids located in the lower part of the
uterus can block the Vag!na during pregnancy, making it necessary to
have a cesarean birth.
Baby’s position can adversely be affected: Depending on the location
and orientation of the fibroid, the baby can end up in either a
transverse or breech position.
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