Uterine fibroids: Types, Causes, Symptoms
Fibroids are tumors made up of smooth muscles and fibrous connective tissue. These fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or on the uterus. These fibroids sometimes becomes large and cause severe abdominal pain and also cause heavy periods. And in some cases, they cause no signs and symptoms at all.
Uterine fibroids may vary in size, shape and location, it is different for individuals. These can be seen in the uterus, on uterus wall. Some times, these are in very small size, which are not seen by our naked eye.
These fibroids are noncancerous. Although these are large, they had rare chances to turn into cancer. It is estimated that over 70 to 80 percent of women develop these fibroids in their lifetime. Especially in childbearing age and women who are close to menopause are at greatest risk of developing these fibroids.
Types of fibroids:
There are three types of fibroids:
1. Sub serosal fibroids: These are the most common fibroids among the three, these fibroids form on the outside of the uterus, which is called as serosa. They may also grow larger which makes the womb look bigger on one side.
2. Intramural fibroids: These fibroids develop in muscular wall of uterus.
3. Sub mucosal uterus: These are uncommon, they develop in the middle muscle layer of uterus.
The cause of fibroids is not known exactly, but several factors may influence the formation of uterine fibroids as follows:
Hormones: Estrogen and progesterone hormones which are produced by ovaries. These hormones cause the uterine lining to regenerate during every menstrual cycle and stimulate the growth of fibroids.
Other growth factors: The substances which help the body to maintain tissues, such as insulin like growth factors, may affect the growth of fibroids.
Family history: If any of our first degree relative has the history of this condition , you may also develop it as well.
Extracellular matrix: This extracellular matrix makes the cells stick together. ECM is increased in fibroids and make them fibrous. ECM also stores the growth factors and causes biological changes in the cells.
Risk factors that have an impact on uterine fibroid development include :
Heredity: If your mother or sister had fibroids, you are at increased risk of developing these fibroids.
Obesity: It is also one of the risk factors of developing fibroids.
Other factors: Onset of menstrual cycle at an early age, vitamin-D deficiency, drinking alcohol and having a diet high in red meat and low in vegetables and fruits, all these factors may also responsible for developing fibroids.
In many women symptoms are not seen, But the women who had symptoms may experience these depending on upon the number of tumors, their location and size, they include:
- Heavy bleeding between or during periods.
- Heavy menstrual cramps.
- Swelling or enlargement of abdomen.
- Menstruation lasts longer than usual.
- Urination increases.
- Backaches and leg pains
- Pelvic pain
Usually these uterine fibroids aren’t dangerous, but they can cause discomfort and may also lead to complications such as anemia, fatigue, etc.
Fibroids especially sub mucosal fibroids can cause infertility or pregnancy loss.
Due to fibroids, there may be a risk of certain pregnancy complications, such as placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, preterm delivery.
Total prevention of uterine fibroids may not be possible, but by making healthy lifestyle changes, like maintaining normal weight and eating healthy food may decrease your fibroid risk.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables like apples, tomatoes and whole grains foods may help in preventing fibroids.
- Uterine Fibroids are non cancerous growth of the uterus in women.
- These fibroids may go by their own in some cases.
- Untreated fibroids may lead to some complications like anemia.
- Pelvic pain is common due to heavy ness by large fibroids.
- These may cause changes in menstrual cycle, by increasing or decreasing the flow and cramping.