What are Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids are benign (non – cancerous) tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70-80% of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime. However, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

What causes Uterine Fibroid tumors?

The cause of uterine fibroids is not known, although some studies have shown that there could be a genetic component. There is no food or external exposure that a woman can have that can cause her to develop fibroids.

Who is at risk for uterine fibroids?

As women age their chances of developing fibroids increase. Studies have shown that women with a family history of fibroids are more likely to develop fibroids.

Fibroids are also more common in African women. Obesity has also been linked to an increase risk of fibroids.

Symptoms of Fibroids

  • Pressure on the bladder or rectum
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation and/or rectal pain
  • Lower back and/or abdominal pain
  • If fibroids become very large, they can enlarge the stomach, making a woman look pregnant.
  • Heavy, prolonged menstrual periods, sometimes with clots.
  • Anemia (fatigue due to low red blood count).
  • Pain or pressure between the hip bones or in the back of the legs.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Longer or more frequent menstruation
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods.

Types of Fibroids

  • Intramural – fibroids, the most common, grow in the wall of the uterus.
  • Subserosal – fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus.
  • Submucosal – fibroids grow just underneath the uterine lining and can crowd into the uterus cavity.
  • Pedunculated fibroids – grow on small stalks inside or outside the uterus.
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