Uterine fibroids are small lumps of muscular tissue that grow on the surface of the uterus and sometimes on the neck of the uterus.
It is a condition that affects women’s reproductive and hormonal health, however, despite the formation of tumors, only 0.5% have carcinogenic cells.
As a result, although they are related to several gynecological problems, it is very rare for them to influence the appearance of cancer.
However, many women do not know how they develop and so tend to confuse them with other diseases due to the symptoms.
For this reason, we have brought together a series of facts to help resolve many of the doubts around this problem.
1. What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are a sort of benign tumor that usually develop in women over 20 years of age.
They are also known as leiomyomas and they are small, round lumps of fibrous tissue, the size of which can be anywhere from microscopic to large.
2. What kinds of uterine fibroids exist?
There are several types of uterine fibroids, depending on where in the uterus they form:
- Submucosal: found in the myometrium, the protective layer of the inner wall of the uterus.
- Subserosal: formed under the serosa, the lining of the external part of the uterus.
- Pedunculated: these are a type of subserosal fibroids but they grow and detach from the womb until they are attached by a stalk called a peduncle.
- Intramural: these tumors are found in the inner muscular wall of the uterus. They sometimes grow so big that they deform the external and internal wall of this organ.
3. What symptoms do they cause?
Fibroids form part of the group of afflictions that are difficult to detect due to the lack of conclusive symptoms in their initial stages.
However, many affected women are able to perceive some changes in their body that enable diagnosis.
- Irregular menstrual periods.
- Abundant bleeding.
- Swelling sensation or pain in the lower belly.
- Sudden weight gain.
- Fertility problems and high-risk pregnancies.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Pain in the lower back.
- Changes in urination habits.
- Sensation of fatigue.
4. What do fibroids have to do with fertility problems?
One of the aspects of fibroids that people ask most about is their consequences for reproductive health.
Unfortunately, women diagnosed with this condition have a high likelihood of having difficulties getting pregnant.
Furthermore, although there is a certain level of probability of achieving pregnancy, there are quite a lot of risks during the gestation period.
Many cases are at high risk of miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy.
However, these risks vary from one woman to another. They almost always depend on the number of fibroids, their size and their location in the uterus.
We recommend you read: 10 Foods for Improving Fertility
5. Can uterine fibroids be treated?
Surgical intervention is one of the most effective and well-known methods to treat uterine fibroids.
However, contrary to popular belief, this is not the only treatment that exists to reduce the effects on the body.
It is essential to know that nowadays there is medicine that reduces the severity of the symptoms and the hormonal imbalances they cause.
Also, when they are very small it is not necessary to turn to surgery.
Given this, it is important to bear in mind that:
- Small tumors are treated with pharmaceutical remedies prescribed by a doctor.
- If the effects of the medication are not enough, the only solution is removal.
- The procedure, called myomectomy, focuses on eliminating the lumps without directly affecting the tissues of the uterus.
- On the other hand, there is a treatment with ulipristal acetate which is a progesterone modulator that helps to prevent the growth of lumps in the uterus.
In conclusion, although it is not considered a serious problem that requires urgent attention, fibroids should be a reason to see a gynecologist.
While many fibroids do not increase in size and go unnoticed, it is best to seek treatment. This way, you can prevent them growing and causing complications.