What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are
lumps that grow on your
uterus. You can have fibroids on the inside ,
on the outside , or
in the wall of your uterus.
Your doctor may call them fibroid
tumors, leiomyomas, or myomas. But fibroids are not cancer. You do not need to
do anything about them unless they are causing problems.
are very common in women in their 30s and 40s. But fibroids usually do not cause problems.
Many women never even know they have them.
Doctors are not sure
what causes fibroids. But the female hormones
progesterone seem to make them grow. Your body makes
the highest levels of these hormones during the years when you have periods.
Your body makes less of these hormones after you stop having
periods (menopause). Fibroids usually shrink after menopause
and stop causing symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Often fibroids do not cause
symptoms. Or the symptoms may be mild, like periods that are a little heavier
than normal. If the fibroids bleed or press on your organs, the symptoms may
make it hard for you to enjoy life. Fibroids make some women have:
- Long, gushing periods and cramping.
- Fullness or pressure in their belly.
- Low back
- Pain during sex.
- An urge to urinate often.
Heavy bleeding during your periods can lead to
anemia. Anemia can make you feel weak and
Sometimes fibroids can make it harder to get pregnant. Or
they may cause problems during pregnancy, such as going into early labor or
losing the baby (miscarriage).
How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?
To find out if
you have fibroids, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. He or she will
pelvic exam to check the size of your uterus.
Your doctor may send you to have an
ultrasound or another type of test that shows pictures
of your uterus. These help your doctor see how large your fibroids are and
where they are growing.
Your doctor may also do blood tests to
look for anemia or other problems.
How are they treated?
If your fibroids are not
bothering you, you do not need to do anything about them. Your doctor will
check them during your regular visits to see if they have gotten bigger.
If your main symptoms are pain and heavy bleeding, try an
over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen, and ask
your doctor about birth control pills. These can help you feel better and make
your periods lighter. If you have anemia, take iron pills and eat foods that
are high in iron, like meats, beans, and leafy green vegetables.
If your symptoms bother you a lot, you may want to think about surgery.
Most of the time fibroids grow slowly, so you can take time to consider your