Uterine fibroids, also known as uterine myoma are the benign tumors of the uterus. These muscular tumors grow on your uterus, but the chances of them turning cancerous is very low. However, these tumors do increase the risk of uterine cancer.
The uterine fibroids would vary a lot in terms of the size, location and shape. They start showing from the uterus, and then eventually spread to the uterine wall, uterine surface and other parts. The uterine fibroids vary a lot in terms of size, from being extremely small to extremely big. The uterine fibroids may be so small that they can't be seen from naked eyes.
Uterine fibroids usually affect women aged 30-40 years old. However, they can happen to women of all ages at any point in their lives, depending on the surroundings they're exposed to.
The exact causes of uterine fibroids are unknown. But, genetics and hormonal changes are considered to be the common causes of uterine fibroids.
- Genetics: Studies have shown the relation between normal cells of the uterus and fibroids.
- Hormones: Estrogen and Progesterone are two essential female hormones that affect fibroids' growth on the uterus.
- Extracellular matrix: Comparatively, the fibroids tend to have a higher amount of ECM than other cells. This further boosts fibroid growth and leads to cell damages.
- Growth factors: Insulin-like growth factors would also have an impact on fibroid growth.
Often the uterine fibroids may not show any sign or symptoms. Hence, women with uterine fibroids aren't aware only of the presence.
The first and common sign of uterine fibroids is abnormal uterine bleeding. One may experience heavy bleeding during periods if the tumor is present near the uterine lining. This can further lead to painful periods, spotting during menses and even prolonged periods.
Many women also suffer from iron deficiency anemia because of excessive bleeding owing to fibroids. Degenerating uterine fibroids can however cause severe pain. The symptoms shown by fibroids would completely depend on the size and its location in the uterus.
The symptoms may include
- Pelvic pain
- Painful intercourse
- Pressure on bladder or rectum
The prominent treatment of uterine fibroids include the following
- Medications such as oral birth control, IUD and Tranexamic acid to control heavy uterine bleeding
- Surgery (myomectomy, endometrial ablation, hysterectomy or uterine fibroid embolization (UFE)