What are Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors of the uterus made out of fibrous connective tissue and smooth muscle cells. They can be so small that the human eye can’t detect, to large-sized ones that bulge, distorting and enlarging the uterus. They are not associated with the risk of uterine cancer as they rarely develop into cancer. Fibroid often causes no symptoms, making it possible to have them without knowing it. Women with symptoms may experience heavy menstrual bleeding, frequent urination, constipation, pelvic pressure, and prolonged menstrual periods. The good news is that your Forest Hills, NY, a private medical practice at Raveco Medical, offers treatment plans for women with fibroids.

Causes of uterine fibroids

The causes of uterine fibroids remain unclear, but several factors influence their formation. For example, female reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone that stimulate the development of the uterine walls during each menstrual cycle appear to promote the growth of fibroids. Although typical uterine muscle cells contain reproductive hormones, fibroids contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors.

Growth factors that help your body maintain tissues can also cause fibroid growth. The increase in estrogen and progesterone hormones during pregnancy can also cause the development of fibroids.

Risk factors of uterine fibroids

Although any woman of reproductive age can develop uterine fibroids, other factors predispose you to this condition. For example, black women are more likely to develop fibroids than women of other racial groups. They also tend to develop larger fibroids at a younger age, along with more severe symptoms. Your risk of fibroids is also higher if your family member, your sister, or your mom has fibroids.

Starting your periods early is also a risk factor for fibroids, alcohol consumption, and vitamin D deficiency. A diet with more red meat and less green vegetables can also cause you to develop uterine fibroids.

Potential complications

Uterine fibroids are generally harmless, but they can cause discomfort and drop your hemoglobin level due to heavy menstrual periods. If you develop anemia, you may experience fatigue. Although rare, you may need a blood transfusion in severe anemia cases. While fibroids don’t interfere with getting pregnant, submucosal fibroids can cause pregnancy loss. If you are pregnant and have fibroids, you may develop complications such as fetal growth restriction, placental abruption, and preterm delivery.

Prevention

Although research about the causes of fibroids is underway, there is little scientific evidence on how to prevent these abnormal growths in the uterus. It may not be possible to prevent uterine fibroids but making healthy lifestyle choices can help you reduce your risk. For example, consider eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight. Using hormonal contraceptives is also linked with a reduced risk of uterine fibroids.

Treatment for uterine fibroids

There are different treatment options, but there’s no single best approach to fibroids. If you have mild symptoms, your doctor may recommend watchful waiting. Some women require medications such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists to shrink the size of the growths. If you experience heavy bleeding, your doctor may prescribe a hormonal IUD to relieve symptoms. Procedures such as uterine embolization and radiofrequency ablation may also be an option.

Consult your doctor at Raveco Medical to learn more about uterine fibroids.

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