Fibroids are benign (not cancerous) tumors which grow in tufts or groups on the uterine walls of the female reproductive system. Medically known as leiomyoma, fibromyoma and myoma, fibroids are basically of four types - each one is termed depending on the location they are found on the uterus.
Since fibroids are typically asymptomatic (no symptoms show up), it is hard to estimate how many women have them. Estimates range widely from 20% to 80% of all women, though in an overwhelming majority these are benign.
It is generally recognized that in atleast 50% of affected women, the condition is asymptomatic i.e., the women experience absolutely no symptoms because of the presence of the fibroids in their uterus. But, in the remaining cases they do manifest themselves in the different forms. When they occur, the typical symptoms are:
The causes of fibroids are not clear. Fibroids are a common condition prevalent in women aged between 35 and 50. There are chances that they might take seed after puberty due to the excess levels or imbalance of hormones that are produced in the body. Their onset gets frequent as women get older, but they usually shrink after menopause. Obesity and genetics may also be connected to fibrouds.
Interestingly, fibroids increase in size during pregnancy, because of the higher secretion of the hormone estrogen.
Fibroids typically go undetected until a smear test is conducted or an ultrasound scan is taken. In most of the cases, it is found that they do not affect the normal functioning of the persons though some suffer from the symptoms above.
Most commonly occurring fibroids (Intramural and Subserosal) do not significantly affect fertility but fibroids in the womb or in the cervix can affect fertility.
In certain cases fibroids may cause miscarriages. Depending on the location of the fibroids the complications during pregnancy may differ, though in most cases there are no adverse effects.
Common problems are:
Due to all of these, the chances of a C-section are also increased.
If the fibroids do not cause any inconvenience or symptoms, no treatment is called for. Mild symptoms may be mitigated through medication.
But if it manifests itself in severe symptoms that cause a lot of trouble, then one can go in for either surgical or non-surgical methods depending on the advice of their gynecologist. The main ways in which one could get treated are:
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