There are different stories about fibroids, but many women have little to no knowledge about it yet they know someone who is suffering or have heard someone who is suffering. About 20% to 80% of women develop fibroids by the time they reach age 50. It is most common in women in their 40s and early 50s and not all women with fibroids have symptoms. Women who do have symptoms often find fibroids hard to live with. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. Also called myomas, fibromas, and leiomyomas. Uterine fibroids aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and rarely develop into cancer. They range in size from seedlings, undetectable by the human eye, to bulky masses that can distort and enlarge the uterus. In extreme cases, multiple fibroids can expand the uterus so much that it reaches the rib cage and can add weight.
Due to a lack of symptoms and signs many women may suffer from fibroids without their knowledge and can be discovered during prenatal ultrasound. It’s unclear why fibroids develop, but several factors may influence their formation. Hormone estrogen and progesterone are the hormones produced by the ovaries. They cause the uterine lining to regenerate during each menstrual cycle and may stimulate the growth of fibroids. Family history fibroids may run from your family and can be passed genetically. Pregnancy increases the production of estrogen and progesterone in your body, and this may help fibroids thrive. Other risk factors are menopause, not having children and early onset of menstruation.
Most typically small fibroids do not cause any symptoms and don’t require treatment other than regular observation by your healthcare provider. Larger fibroids can cause you to experience a variety of symptoms, including;
- Excessive or painful bleeding during your period.
- Frequent urination (this is when a fibroid is big and puts too much pressure on the bladder).
- Pain during sex.
- Chronic vaginal discharge.
- Increase abdominal distention (enlargement) causing your abdomen to look pregnant.
- Lower back pain.
- Bleeding between your periods.
Most of these symptoms usually stabilize after menopause because hormone levels decline within your body.
The likelihood of complications occurring depends on factors such as the position of the fibroids and their size. If fibroids are present during pregnancy, it can sometimes lead to problems with the development of the baby or difficulties during labor. Women with fibroids may experience tummy pain during pregnancy and there’s a risk of premature labor. If it blocks the vagina cesarean section may be necessary. In cases where fibroids are large, infertility may occur. This is by preventing the fertilized egg from attaching itself to the lining womb.
Research is still being done on how to prevent fibroids. Fibroids are giving a lot of women sleepless nights but we thank God that it’s not cancerous and doctors are coming up with different treatments to manage it. Lifestyle choices such as maintaining a healthy weight and eating fruits and vegetables may decrease your fibroid risk.