The uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. Smaller fibroids are not dangerous and do not need any treatment, but large fibroids could be dangerous and should be treated within time. These fibroids develop from the connective tissue and muscles from the uterine wall and are, therefore, non-cancerous. Fibroids can be single or grow in groups. They can grow in the uterine wall or inside the main cavity of the uterus.
The exact cause of these fibroids is not known. Doctors are researching to find out what causes uterine fibroids. Most probably, these uterine fibroids develop due to an imbalance of female hormones such as estrogen.
- During the reproductive years of a woman, the level of estrogen and progesterone is high. Due to high levels of estrogen, fibroids may develop in the uterus. During menopause, the level of estrogen decreases, and this leads to the shrinkage of the fibroids. Some women take hormonal medications such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone that also reduce the size of the fibroids.
- Genetic predisposition can also be responsible for causing fibroids. Women who have a family history are at a greater risk of developing fibroids.
- It is also suggested that excessive alcohol drinking and eating red meat also contribute to causing fibroids in women.
- Women who are overweight are also at a greater risk of developing fibroids.
- Some women develop fibroids during pregnancy because the level of estrogen is high at the time of pregnancy.
Types of Uterine Fibroids
There are different types of fibroids depending on the location.
- Subserosal fibroids: Subserosal fibroids are the fibroids that grow outside the uterus, and they are the most common ones.
- Intramural fibroids: Intramural fibroids are the fibroids that grow in the muscular wall of the uterine cavity.
- Submucosal fibroids: Submucosal fibroids grow in the open space of the uterus.
Uterine Fibroids Symptoms
All fibroids do not produce symptoms and are benign in nature. However, large ones may produce uterine fibroids symptoms, including-
- Heavy Bleeding during Menstrual Periods
- Bleeding for Prolonged Periods
- Pain in the Lower Back
- Painful Intercourse
- Frequent Urination
- Pressure in the Pelvic Region
- Excessive Urination
In some women, larger fibroids can also cause infertility by preventing a fertilized egg from getting implanted in the uterus. Sometimes, fibroids can also produce complications during pregnancy, such as difficult labor, miscarriage, and excessive bleeding during delivery.
Diagnosis of Uterine Fibroids
Doctors can ask for the following tests to diagnose fibroids in the uterine cavity:
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound is an easy and safe technique used by most doctors for diagnosing uterine fibroids.
- MRI: The doctor can also recommend an MRI scan to diagnose the size of fibroids.
- Hysteroscopy: This test is used to extract a sample of tissue from the uterine cavity and check for cancerous cells. In this test, a small device called a hysteroscope that has a camera attached to its front end is inserted into the uterus to see through.
- Laparoscopy: This technique is used for detecting uterine fibroids by using an instrument called a laparoscope. A small lighted tube is inserted into the abdomen through a small insertion to see the uterus and its surrounding structures if required.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths. They may grow at different locations in or out of the uterus. Most often, women do not experience symptoms, but some women having large fibroids may experience symptoms. The cause is not known, but several factors may be responsible for causing fibroids.