Uterine Fibroids: 5 Things You Need to Know
Treatment varies according to the size of uterine fibroids. Surgical intervention could be necessary to extract it, or proper medication and periodic checkups could be enough.
According to the Spanish Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SEGO) nearly 70% of women could develop uterine fibroids at some point in their life.
First you need to know that only 0.5% of these fibroids could become carcinogenic.
But the discomfort and problems that could arise should be considered. They are definitely something that should remind us not to forget our periodic gynecological checkups.
Uterine fibroids are also known as leiomyomas or fibromyomas, and are the most common type of tumor in women.
That’s why we want to give you 5 ways to recognize the symptoms, their origins, and possible consequences that your body could undergo.
I’m sure this information will be of interest to you.
1. Uterine fibroids: what are they? What causes them?
A lot of women complain about the same things: they lead a healthy life, they take care of their sexual health, they get their gynecological checkups when it’s time, and yet, without knowing why, they soon after get the diagnosis: a uterine fibroid.
So why does this happen? The truth is, we currently still don’t know what exactly causes them. It is suspected that genetics plays a part in their development, but we don’t know exactly how they appear and develop.
The uterus has several layers. One of them is the myometrium.
- Female hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, stimulate the growth of small, tiny lumps in the myometrium that slowly could transform into fibroids.
- These uterine fibroids could divide into subserosals when they are located on the surface of the uterus, or intramural fibroids, when they are inserted within the uterine wall. Or lastly, they could be submucosal fibroids when located within the uterus.
Subserosal fibroids barely present any symptoms. But intramural and submucosal fibroids affect the endometrium and could even cause bleeding, pain, and in the most extreme cases, infertility.
Improper blood flow to the uterus causes uterine fibroids, which could thereby also produce intense pain and miscarriages.
2. Who is at the greatest risk of suffering from uterine fibroids?
Doctors suggest that they generally appear between 35 and 55 years of age, and are most common between 45 and 55 years of age.
- This type of benign tumor appears most commonly during the fertile period.
- If your mother has had them, it is more likely that you will have some sort of probability in developing uterine fibroids as well.
- Your risk of suffering from uterine fibroids is greater if you are overweight and have never given birth.
3. Symptoms of uterine fibroids
You must keep in mind that nearly 30% of women do not experience symptoms. Only period checkups with your gynecologist can detect with certainty that you have uterine fibroids.
Let’s take a look at the most obvious symptoms that most women generally experience:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Bleeding outside of menstruation.
- Menstrual periods becoming much longer.
- Experiencing ferropenic anemia.
- Feeling swollen and fatigued.
- Weight gain.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Needing to urinate more frequently.
4. What treatments exist for uterine fibroids?
The first thing you may think of when diagnosed with one or more uterine fibroids is that you may need surgical intervention.
- This is not always the case. Smaller uterine fibroids can be treated with a specific medication and periodic checkups.
- If the fibroid is very large, or a small one doesn’t respond to medication, you’ll have no other option but to have it removed.
- You could undergo a myomectomy (fibroid extraction without affecting the uterus) or, a hysterectomy, which is partial or complete removal of the uterus.
- A lot of specialists, however, advise undergoing medical treatment with ulipristal acetate, a progestorone moderator that noticeably reduces the presence of uterine fibroids.
5. Uterine fibroids and fertility
One of the most common doubts that women generally have when they are diagnosed with a fibroid is whether or not they can get pregnant.
That all depends on your age, however. Because this is a very common benign tumor in women during their fertile age, this is definitely one of the most common fears.
Experts have suggested the following:
- When tumors are large, they could cause fertility problems or complications with pregnancy.
- Women that undergo myomectomies – myectomy removal that still respects the uterus – can continue to become pregnant.
- Fibroids could cause miscarriages, which is why it’s a good idea to plan your pregnancy and consult a gynechologist to know if pregnancy is possible, and if you are risk-free.
When uterine fibroids are bigger than 4 cm they will already be causing serious inconveniences in gestation: the mother could experience premature birth and pelvic pain, and even placenta detachment.
Take care of your health and never miss your periodic checkups with your healthcare professional. They will always provide you with advice regarding these important topics.