What are fibroids?
Fibroids are usually non-cancerous growths arising from the wall of the uterus (womb). It is the most common tumor of female genital tract. Fibroids may be seen in up to 70% of women by the age of menopause. Fibroids are seen clinically in up to 25% of reproductive age women and 25% of women have severe enough symptoms to need treatment for the same.
What causes fibroids?
The main cause why fibroids happen is not known. But presence of high levels of estrogen hormone can cause increased growth of fibroids. There are some factors/conditions which make women more or less prone to develop fibroids.
Who are at increased risk of developing fibroids?
- Blacks have more risk of developing fibroids
- Increasing Age- With increasing age up to menopause the chance of developing fibroids increases.
- Positive family history of fibroids- If someone in your family has fibroids, you are more likely to get yourself checked for fibroids.
Who have a lower risk of developing fibroids?
- Women who have given birth
- Smoking with low BMI
- After menopause
- Oral contraceptives decrease risk of developing fibroids by 70%
- Injectable contraceptive DMPA
What symptoms I will experience with fibroids?
You may have no problem with the presence of fibroids or you may experience any of the following problems. The fibroids will cause problems or not that depends on the location, number and size of the fibroids.
Symptoms with fibroids
- Heavy bleeding during menses
- Frequent menses
- Anemia (low hemoglobin)
- Pressure in lower abdomen
- Pain during intercourse
- Difficulty in passing urine
- Difficulty in conceiving
- Increased risk of miscarriages
- Complications during pregnancy & delivery
How will I confirm if I have fibroids?
Your doctor will examine you and may find that the womb is enlarged in size, or irregular or bumpy in outline. An ultrasound will confirm the presence of fibroids and their number, size and location.
What are the treatments available for fibroids?
The treatment of fibroids may be medical or surgical. It will depend on your age, any problems due to the fibroid, planning a pregnancy.
The medicine or injections given for treatment of fibroids generally cause shrinkage and the size of the fibroid is reduced. But it doesn’t totally disappear. These medicines cause disturbance in your normal hormonal cycles, so you may have irregular periods or you may have no periods during that time. So you can conceive only after stopping these medicines.
After removal of fibroid, you can plan a pregnancy after 3-6 months.