Do you know that uterine fibroids are considered one of the most common gynecological diseases? Every third woman after 30 and every second after 40 years are diagnosed with this condition. However, uterine fibroids are accompanied by many myths and false opinions that it is high time to debunk all of them. In this article, we gathered six facts about uterine fibroids every woman should know.
1. Fibroid is a benign tumor
Fibroid is a benign growth that forms on the smooth muscle cells of the uterus or cervix. It consists of muscles and tissues that are mixed into a tight knot. The size and weight of fibroids can vary. They could be tiny as pomegranate seed or large as a watermelon. However, you should remember that fibroid is a benign tumor that doesn’t develop into cancer. After the onset of menopause, it can decrease in size or even eliminate. Uterine fibroids are most common in women aged 20 to 50 years. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone who is not on this list is safe. Unfortunately, the disease is getting younger and even teenagers are at risk.
2. Fibroids can be asymptomatic
The biggest problem is that uterine fibroids often don’t cause any symptoms. And many women even don’t realize that they have fibroids until they visit a gynecologist. The presence of symptoms depends on the size, quantity, and location of the fibroids. The most common signs that you should pay attention to are painful and heavy periods, an irregular cycle, pelvic pain, feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen, and bloating. However, fibroids can be confused with other diseases with similar symptoms.
3. The causes of fibroids are still unclear
The opinions of scientists about the causes of uterine fibroids differ and there are no clear definitions concerning their appearance. The most likely cause is a hormonal imbalance that leads to increased sensitivity of uterine muscle cells to the concentration of the female sex hormone estrogen or progesterone. Moreover, various inflammatory processes in the reproductive organs, genetic predisposition, inactive lifestyle, and chronic stress are also considered as possible predisposing factors.
4. Uterine fibroids require examination
Fibroids themselves are not dangerous but the tumors that are located in the uterine cavity can disrupt its contracting activity. This may cause different symptoms like pain, heavy periods, and a malfunction of the pelvic organs (if fibroids are large).
Uterine fibroids may cause difficulties with pregnancy and after the delivery. However, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. This depends on the location of the tumors and their sizes. In any case, fibroids require regular examinations.
5. Exams are performed with the help of ultrasound and MRI scan
Uterine fibroids can be diagnosed with the help of an ultrasound examination. An MRI scan can be used in order to obtain additional data and determine the proper fibroids treatment. Small fibroids themselves are quite common. That’s why if you have a small fibroid, there is no reason to panic. Your gynecologist will add size, position, and number of tumors to your medical history. To stay on the safe side, it is better to observe the condition, control the possible appearance of new tumors or the growth of existing fibroids.
6. The best prevention is regular examinations
Despite the fact that causes of fibroids are still unknown and their appearance can’t be predicted, the most effective preventive measure is regular gynecological check-ups. This means that it is better to undergo a professional ultrasound examination of the pelvic organs at least once a year. It would be easier to treat small fibroids that recently appeared.