Many women across the globe struggle with uterine fibroids and may not even know it. Even though the number of cases is high, not many women are aware of the symptoms and warning signs of the condition.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), uterine fibroids grow from the muscle tissue of the uterus. They can form inside the uterine cavity, as well as within and outside the uterine wall. Even though they are known as tumours, most of these are non-cancerous. The Office on Women's Health reported only one in1,000 fibroids is cancerous. Having this condition doesn't automatically mean you will develop cancer.
"On very rare occasions they can become cancerous, and that's called a leiomyosarcoma," Yvonne Bohn, M.D., an ob-gyn at Los Angeles Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Cystex, told a news portal.
Researchers have yet to understand the exact cause for fibroids, although studies have found estrogen can cause them to develop. Previous research has also found it can form during pregnancy and stop growing or at least reduce in size during menopause. The Office on Women's Health also states you are more likely to get it if you have a family member with fibroid.
The symptoms of the condition can also be hard to detect sometimes. Even if a woman has very large fibroids, she may not show any signs of it. However, heavy bleeding, cramping and passing blood clots are huge indicators of uterine fibroids. Larger fibroids can cause back pain. Fibroids can even put pressure on the bladder or rectum, which causes constipation and make it difficult for you to urinate. "Even if the fibroid is small, if it's in that wrong spot, you can haemorrhage to the point of having anaemia and requiring blood transfusion," Dr Bohn told a news portal.
Current treatment options:
- Hysterectomy: It is essentially the removal of the entire uterus.
- Myomectomy: A medical professional removes the fibroid tumours from the uterus.
- Hysteroscopic myomectomy: Small fibroids are removed in the uterine cavity by vaginally going into the uterus.
- Embolisation: Doctors use a vessel to go through the groin and track the blood supply to the fibroid. The vessel kills the blood supply to the tumour.
Getting yourself checked early if you are unaware if you have it can help experts determine the best treatment options for you."If you're having these weird symptoms, the first thing is to let your gynaecologist know," DrBohn told a news portal. Adding, "Changes in your menstrual cycle, clots in your period, severe cramping, that's a sign that something isn't right." From there, your doc will determine whether the causes is structural (like a fibroid) or hormonal. While docs can feel some fibroids during a standard pelvic exam, you'll most likely get a pelvic ultrasound-the best imaging tool for looking at the uterus and ovaries."
However, what is most important is not to panic if you do get diagnosed Dr Bohn said. "The bottom line is that they're very common," she told a news portal. Adding, "Just because you have one doesn't mean it's awful or that you have to be rushed to surgery. Just be aware of the signs and symptoms so you can seek attention if you have any of these abnormal feelings."