Uterine fibroids (leiomyomata) are non-cancerous growths that develop in or just outside a woman’s uterus (womb). Uterine fibroids develop from normal uterus muscle cells that start growing abnormally. As the cells grow, they form a benign tumor.
Uterine fibroids are extremely common. In fact, many women have uterine fibroids at some point in life. Uterine fibroids in most women are usually too small to cause any problems, or even be noticed. No one knows what causes uterine fibroids, but their growth seems to depend on estrogen, the female hormone. Uterine fibroids don’t develop until after puberty, and usually after age 30. Uterine fibroids shrink or disappear after menopause, when estrogen levels fall.
Most often, uterine fibroids cause no symptoms at all -- so most women don’t realize they have them. When women do experience symptoms from uterine fibroids, they can include: Prolonged menstrual periods Heavy bleeding during periods, Bloating or fullness in the belly, or pelvis Pain in the lower belly, or pelvis Constipation.
Uterine fibroids are often felt by a doctor during a manual pelvic examination. Imaging tests are often done to confirm the presence of uterine fibroids. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina or over the pelvis on the abdomen, and high-frequency sound waves reflect off the uterus and pelvic structures. The uterus and any uterine fibroids are displayed on a video screen.
Many fibroids contain alterations in genes that are different from those in normal uterine muscle cells. Hormones estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that stimulate development of the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle in preparation for pregnancy, appear to promote the growth of fibroids. Fibroids contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors than do normal uterine muscle cells.
Fibroids may be genetic. If your mother or sister had fibroids, you're at increased risk of developing them. Black women are more likely to have fibroids than are women of other racial groups. Pregnancy and childbirth. Pregnancy and childbirth seem to have a protective effect and may decrease your risk of developing uterine fibroids.
Fibroids may get cured by themselves by waiting or may require treatment or surgery.
•Birth control pills to help control heavy periods.
•Intrauterine devices (IUDs) that release the hormone progestin to help reduce heavy bleeding and pain.
•Iron supplements to prevent or treat anemia due to heavy periods.
Fibroids may also be cured by hormonal injections or surgical procedures like hysterectomy, uterine embolization (stopping the uterine blood supply)or myemectomy (removal of fibroids).
Recovery is not difficult as the patient requires rest and some medications and some precautions similar to common surgery.
Researchers have been unable to findany concrete the causes of fibroid tumors, and very little reason is available on how to prevent them. Preventing uterine fibroids may not be possible, but only a small percentage of these tumors require treatment.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.