Fibroids are a tumor that is benign (non-cancerous) and can originate in the uterus or cervix of a woman. They can grow in the lining of the uterus, such as the myometrium of the uterus. Fibroids can affect any woman, although it is rare for women under the age of twenty. It is important for women to see their OB/GYN yearly, because although fibroids are benign, there are other complications that can arise from fibroids. The following is a list of nine things women should know about fibroids:
- Women with fibroids usually show no signs or symptoms. Although some women may not experience symptoms, there are still women that do. Some of the symptoms of fibroids can include heavy menstrual bleeding, menstrual pain, abnormal bleeding and constipation. Many of these symptoms can easily be overlooked. Only your doctor can diagnose fibroids, so it is important to pay attention to small details to tell if something is wrong.
- Fibroids can cause infertility in women. Fibroids can change the shape of a woman’s uterus. When this happens, it significantly decreases a woman’s chance of getting pregnant. If the fibroids are surgically removed, most women are then able to get pregnant.
- Fibroids can lead to anemia in women. Since one of the symptoms of fibroids is heavy menstrual bleeding, it can cause women to develop iron-deficiency anemia. Some symptoms may include pale skin and fatigue. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor to get a diagnosis.
- Fibroids can cause urinary incontinence. Having fibroids in your uterus can create pressure on your bladder. This can cause a loss of bladder control for urination. It can also cause urinary tract infections because the pressure that the fibroid creates on your uterus can cause the bladder to not fully be able to empty.
- Fibroids will not cause problems during pregnancy. As stated above, fibroids can cause infertility in women, but once a woman is pregnant, she will have a normal pregnancy. There have been studies done that indicated there were no differences in pregnancy between women with fibroids and women without fibroids during pregnancy. The only difference is that, typically, women with fibroids need to have a caesarean section.
- Surgery may be required for women with fibroids. Women with complications, such as anemia and infertility, most likely need surgery to remove the fibroids. The types of surgeries can include laparoscopy or hysteroscopy myomectomy. If these surgeries are not successful at relieving symptoms, a hysterectomy may be required.
- When a fibroid is removed surgically, they do not grow back. If a woman has fibroids surgically removed and later has an ultrasound that shows fibroids, it is typically because the surgeon did not remove all the fibroids.
- The cause of fibroids in women is still unknown. It has been suggested that a woman’s genes may play a role. For example, if your mother had fibroids, you may now be at risk for them. Abnormal blood vessels in the uterus and hormones are a couple other theories of fibroids.
- There are four different types of fibroids. Intramural fibroids are the most common and found in the endometrium. Subserosal fibroids which can grow to be very large in size. Submucosal fibroids which develop in the myometrium and are the cause of infertility and heavy bleeding. Cervical fibroids are located in the cervix.
Overall, it is important to see your doctor if you start to notice anything abnormal. Although fibroids are benign, they can still cause complications, but as stated above, there are different treatment options available. Knowing the type of fibroid you have can help your doctor better determine your treatment. Fibroids can affect anyone, so it is always better to be safe than sorry and make a trip to your doctor.
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