What are fibroids?
Fibroids are specific to women, and they are tumors made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They usually develop in or on the walls of the uterus. These types are common and not necessarily cancerous.
It affects as many as 75% of the women population. Although they are rarely cancerous, they also rarely cause symptoms in only about 20% of the women living with them. But some people that have fibroid complain of symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding, bad cramps, pelvic pressure, constipation, or frequent urination.
Fibroid occasionally does not show symptoms, depending on the individual, but they may migrate into the uterine cavity complicating issues like pregnancy and raising the risk of miscarriage. Someone can have one or multiple fibroids which can appear small as an apple seed or as big as a grapefruit. Sometimes it can even be larger than that. Over time, a fibroid can either shrink or grow bigger depending on early detection and management.
Fibroids cases are more pronounced and common from age 30 to the age at which menopause begins. Fibroid can shrink after menopause. The root causes are exactly not yet clear, but expert says that they seem to develop when estrogen levels are higher.
Managing uterine fibroids entirely depends on the woman involved such as the symptoms she is going through, whether or not she wants to have children, her age, and her personal preferences.
Most fibroids are characterized as being benign or noncancerous but very few cases of fibroids begin as cancer. Contrarily benign fibroids can’t become cancerous. Since cancerous fibroids are very rare, it is advisable for women without symptoms to opt for medical examinations like ultra-scan.
Early detection is very important in other to avoid unnecessary fibroid growth because they grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. The size of fibroid can be as small as a pea or as big as a watermelon if not even bigger.
Other facts about fibroids
What else to know about uterine fibroids:
- They are the most common tumor of the reproductive tract
- Risks of having fibroids are common in women who are nearing menopause.
- The easiest way to detect fibroid is during a routine pelvic exam.
- The most common types of symptoms that occur with people that have fibroids are heavy and prolonged periods, bleeding between periods and pelvic pain.
Types of fibroids
There are three main types of fibroids. They are:
- Subserosal fibroids: These are the most common type of fibroids. They can find their way outside of the uterus into the pelvis. Subserosal fibroids can grow large and sometimes become pedunculated, which mean that the fibroid has a stalk that attaches to the uterus.
- Intramural fibroids: Are fibroids that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus.
- Submucosal fibroids: This type of fibroid that is not too common. They tend to develop in the open space inside the uterus and might also produce a stalk.
Although most fibroids do not cause any noticeable symptoms, some can cause significant discomfort and unnecessary health challenges.
Uterine fibroids can manifest their symptoms in various forms which include:
- Menorrhagia i.e. heavy menstrual periods and this can lead to anemia
- Menstrual Pains (Painful menstrual pains)
- Having lower backache or leg pain
- Constant of frequent constipation
- Lower abdomen discomfort or a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen
- Having frequent urination
- Dyspareunia i.e. pain during sexual activity.
To some people, fertility challenges are associated with their fibroids. It becomes difficult for them to become pregnant. And for those who are lucky to be pregnant, fibroid makes carrying the pregnancy difficult with extra health challenges associated with it. Also during childbirth, there is an increased chance of needing a cesarean delivery.
The best time to see your doctor is now!
See your doctor if you have:
- Constant pelvic pain
- Heavy, prolonged and painful menstrual periods
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Problems in emptying your bladder
- Unexplained anemia (reduced red blood cell count)
You can also visit your health consultant anytime you have severe vaginal bleeding or sharp pelvic pain that comes on you suddenly.
The real causes of uterine fibroids have not been pinned down to a particular thing, but research and clinical experience point to these factors:
- Genetic changes. Some fibroids results from genetic mutation and these changes in genes differ from those in normal uterine muscle cells.
- Hormones: High levels of estrogen and progesterone can activate the growth of fibroids. These two hormones help in stimulating the development of the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle in preparation for pregnancy.
- Other growth factors. These are natural growth substances in the body that help the body maintain tissues, such as insulin-like growth factor, can also affect the growth of fibroid.
- Extracellular matrix (ECM). ECM can also be responsible for fibroid growth. Although ECM helps the cells of the body to stick together, thereby forming tissue, they are usually increased in fibroids and make them fibrous. ECM also functions in storing growth factors and might also cause biological changes in the cells themselves.
Research health consultants believe that uterine fibroids develop from just a stem cell in the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus (myometrium). And this single cell divides and multiplies itself repeatedly, eventually creating a firm mass tissue called fibroid. These growth patterns vary. Some might grow slowly or rapidly, or remain the same size. While some growth is in spurts, and some may shrink on their own.
There are some reported cases of fibroids that were present during pregnancy but later shrink or disappear after pregnancy.
Any woman of reproductive age should try to check herself in a diagnostic laboratory for any trace of fibroid. Early detection and getting rid of it is vital for proper healthy living. And this helps get rid of unwanted complications that accompany it.
Free consultation is available:- Whats app Chat No:- +2348166408051 Tel. No:- +2347033251212