What You Need to Know About Uterine Fibroids
Get the Facts on Uterine Fibroids
Did you know that up to 70% of women have uterine fibroids? However, if you were to ask a woman passing on the street if she knows what uterine fibroids are, you’ll likely be welcomed with a blank stare. Why? Uterine fibroids are not a topic often raised when discussing women’s health. We know. It’s surprising! We’re talking about 3 out of 4 women that develop these fibroids in their childbearing years.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are usually harmless, muscular tumors that are found within the wall of the uterus. These muscular tumors are often benign, so it is easy to see why they are rarely considered as a women’s health concern.
While uterine fibroids are typically harmless, for women that experience symptoms, they can be extremely painful and cause heavy menstrual bleeding. A woman with uterine fibroids can have as few as one fibroid or multiple fibroids. Uterine fibroids can vary in size and can grow as large as a grapefruit. A fibroid this large is the same size as an average fetus at the 23rd week of a woman’s pregnancy.
Uterine Fibroid Symptoms
When is it time to consult your doctor? It’s time when a woman starts experiencing the following symptoms:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
- Frequent urination
- Pelvic pain
- Painful intercourse
- Back pain
- Infertility issues
What Causes Uterine Fibroids to Grow?
It’s incredible that uterine fibroids are as common as they are, yet, what causes uterine fibroids to grow is unclear. Other than a connection to hormones and genetics, researchers have not been able to establish the cause of uterine fibroid growth or shrinkage.
Who Gets Uterine Fibroids?
If uterine fibroids do run in the family, it is suggested there is a greater risk of having them. It has also been found that women of African descent are 2-3X more susceptible to uterine fibroids and are more likely to have them starting in their 20s versus Caucasian women who are more susceptible in their 30s and 40s.
When a woman becomes pregnant, her chances of developing uterine fibroids increases throughout her pregnancy. It is believed that estrogen prompts the growth of uterine fibroids. While estrogen in pregnancy can lead to uterine fibroids, a woman in menopause with uterine fibroids can experience shrinkage. Again, this strongly suggests that estrogen has ties to uterine fibroids.
How Are Uterine Fibroids Treated?
As noted earlier, uterine fibroids are often found to be harmless. However, because uterine fibroids can vary in size, enlarged uterine fibroids can lead to discomfort and painful menstruation. Remember they can be as large as a grapefruit!
When uterine fibroids get to this point, there are a few non-surgical options a woman can consider for treatment including:
- Birth control
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Short-term hormonal therapy injections
If non-surgical options are not effective in reducing the symptoms of uterine fibroids, surgery may be necessary. Surgical options for treatment include:
- Hysteroscopic resection
- Uterine artery embolization
Do you suspect you might have uterine fibroids that are interfering with your everyday life? Make an appointment with the Kaldas Center at 920-886-2299 or visit KaldasCenter.com/contact to discuss a diagnosis and treatment options.