Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb (uterus). The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue and vary in size. Fibroids are the most frequently seen tumours of the female reproductive system. Fibroids, also known as uterine myomas, leiomyomas, or fibromas, are firm, compact tumours that are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develop in the uterus.
It is estimated that between 20 to 50 percent of women of reproductive age have fibroids, although not all are diagnosed. Some estimates state that up to 30 to 77 percent of women will develop fibroids sometime during their childbearing years, although only about one-third of these fibroids are large enough to be detected by a health care provider during a physical examination.
In more than 99 percent of fibroid cases, the tumours are benign (non-cancerous). These tumours are not associated with cancer and do not increase a woman’s risk for uterine cancer. They may range in size, from the size of a pea to the size of a softball or small grapefruit.
What causes fibroid tumours?
While it is not clearly known what causes fibroids, it is believed that each tumour develops from an aberrant muscle cell in the uterus, which multiplies rapidly because of the influence of oestrogen.
Who is at risk for fibroid tumours?
Women who are approaching menopause are at the greatest risk for fibroids because of their long exposure to high levels of oestrogen. Women who are obese and of African-American heritage also seem to be at an increased risk, although the reasons for this are not clearly understood.
Research has also shown that some factors may protect a woman from developing fibroids. Some studies, of small numbers of women, have indicated that women who have had two liveborn children have one-half the risk of developing uterine fibroids compared to women who have had no children. Scientists are not sure whether having children actually protected women from fibroids or whether fibroids were a factor in infertility in women who had no children. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is conducting further research on this topic and other factors that may affect the diagnosis and treatment of fibroids.
What are the symptoms of fibroids?
Some women who have fibroids have no symptoms, or have only mild symptoms, while other women have more severe, disruptive symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms for uterine fibroids, however, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms of uterine fibroids may include:
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
- Abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods
- Pelvic pain (caused as the tumour presses on pelvic organs)
- Frequent urination
- Low back pain
- Pain during intercourse
- A firm mass, often located near the middle of the pelvis, which can be felt by the physician
In some cases, the heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, or the abnormal bleeding between periods, can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia, which also requires treatment, labour problems, pregnancy problems, fertility problems and repeated miscarriages. If fibroids are large, there may be weight gain and swelling in the lower abdomen.
Types of fibroids
Fibroids can grow anywhere in the womb and vary in size considerably. Some can be the size of a pea, whereas others can be the size of a melon.
The main types of fibroids are:
- intramural fibroids – the most common type of fibroid, which develop in the muscle wall of the womb
- subserosal fibroids – fibroids that develop outside the wall of the womb into the pelvis and can become very large
- submucosal fibroids – fibroids that develop in the muscle layer beneath the womb’s inner lining and grow into the cavity of the womb
In some cases, subserosal or submucosal fibroids are attached to the womb with a narrow stalk of tissue. These are known as pedunculated fibroids.
How are fibroids diagnosed?
Fibroids are most often found during a routine pelvic examination. This, along with an abdominal examination, may indicate a firm, irregular pelvic mass to the physician. In addition to a complete medical history and physical and pelvic and/or abdominal examination, diagnostic procedures for uterine fibroids may include:
- X-ray. Electromagnetic energy used to produce images of bones and internal organs onto film.
- Transvaginal ultrasound (also called ultrasonography). An ultrasound test using a small instrument, called a transducer, that is placed in the vagina.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A non-invasive procedure that produces a two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure.
- Hysterosalpingography. X-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes that uses dye and is often performed to rule out tubal obstruction.
- Hysteroscopy. Visual examination of the canal of the cervix and the interior of the uterus using a viewing instrument (hysteroscope) inserted through the vagina.
- Endometrial biopsy. A procedure in which a sample of tissue is obtained through a tube which is inserted into the uterus.
- Blood test (to check for iron-deficiency anemia if heavy bleeding is caused by the tumor).
Treatment for fibroids
Since most fibroids stop growing or may even shrink as a woman approaches menopause, the health care provider may simply suggest “watchful waiting.” With this approach, the health care provider monitors the woman’s symptoms carefully to ensure that there are no significant changes or developments and that the fibroids are not growing.
In women whose fibroids are large or are causing significant symptoms, treatment may be necessary. Treatment will be determined by your health care provider(s) based on:
- Your overall health and medical history
- Extent of the disease
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your opinion or preference
- Your desire for pregnancy
This is the reason why we ask for Scan reports before offering our Fibroid Remedy Kit which helps to treat fibroid naturally. Not only that, we also have a questionnaire (comprising of all the factors mentioned above) which every one who wants the Kit must answer in order for us to come up with the most appropriate natural fibroid treatment option for you with our Fibroid Remedy kit.
Prognosis and complications will usually depend on the size and location of your fibroids. Fibroids may not need treatment if they are small or do not produce symptoms. If you are pregnant and have fibroids, or become pregnant and have fibroids, your physician will carefully monitor your condition.
Generally, Fibroids do not normally result in complications, but they can be serious and even life-threatening if they occur. Such complications may include:
- Menorrhagia, or heavy periods: This can sometimes prevent a woman from functioning normally during menstruation, leading to depression, anaemia, and fatigue.
- Abdominal pains: If fibroids are large, swelling and discomfort may occur in the lower abdomen. There may also be constipation and painful bowel movements.
- Pregnancy problems: Preterm birth, labour problems, and miscarriages may occur as oestrogen levels rise significantly during pregnancy.
- Infertility: In some cases, fibroids can make it harder for the fertilized egg to attach itself to the lining of the uterus. A submucosal fibroid, which grows outside the uterus, may change the uterus’ shape, making conception more difficult.
- Leiomyosarcoma: This is an extremely rare form of cancer that can develop inside the fibroids.
Other serious complications include acute thromboembolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), renal failure, and internal bleeding.
Key Points about Fibroids
Fibroids are most common during the reproductive years.
Exactly why they form is unclear, but they appear to develop when oestrogen levels are higher.
Most people experience no symptoms, but they can include backache, constipation, and excessive vaginal bleeding leading to anaemia.
Complications are rare, but they can be serious.
Pregnancy and Fibroid
Most women who have one or more of these noncancerous growths experience no pregnancy complications because of them. For the 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women with fibroids who do end up having complications, the most common is abdominal pain, which occasionally may be accompanied by light vaginal bleeding.
In early pregnancy, there may be bleeding and a slightly increased risk of miscarriage, depending on where the fibroid is in the uterus. If it is submucosal, or grown into the uterine cavity, it can prevent normal implantation of the pregnancy or disrupt the growth of the placenta
Women who have fibroids are more likely to have problems during pregnancy and delivery. This doesn’t mean there will be problems. Most women with fibroids have normal pregnancies. The most common problems seen in women with fibroids are :
- Cesarean section. The risk of needing a c-section is six times greater for women with fibroids.
- Baby is breech. The baby is not positioned well for vaginal delivery.
- Labor fails to progress.
- Placental abruption. The placenta breaks away from the wall of the uterus before delivery. When this happens, the foetus does not get enough oxygen.
- Preterm delivery.
Talk to your obstetrician if you have fibroids and become pregnant. All obstetricians have experience dealing with fibroids and pregnancy. Most women who have fibroids and become pregnant do not need to see an OB who deals with high-risk pregnancies.
Things that increase a woman’s risk for uterine fibroids include:
- Age – Fibroids become more common as women age, especially from the 30s and 40s through menopause. After menopause, fibroids usually shrink.
- Family history – Having a family member with fibroids increases your risk.
- Ethnic origin – Black women are more likely to develop fibroids than white women.
If you have been diagnosed of uterine fibroids or you know anyone suffering from this challenge, you should click here now to read about our Fibroid Remedy Kit which we have used to help a lot of women get rid of fibroids naturally without surgery and some of them have gone ahead to even conceive and deliver safely.
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