Learning about your body is extremely important to maintain good health. In the spirit of Fibroid Awareness Month, here is a guide from GiveHer5 on things you may need to know about fibroids!
Uterine fibroids: What are they?
A Fibroid is a tumour found in the uterus. It is made up of fibrous connective tissue and smooth muscle cells. Studies by UCLA Health show that 70 to 80 per cent of women may develop fibroids in their lifetime. However, not every woman who has fibroids require any form of outside treatment.
Fibroids are generally always benign, which means they are noncancerous. It is extremely rare for fibroids to become cancerous. Hence women can opt not to get them treated, and just have them observed. The size of fibroids can vary, and so can their growth rate. Some women can have fibroids the size of a small pearl, while some can have them the size of a papaya. In most cases, when fibroids get extremely large, treatment is recommended.
What causes fibroids, and am I at risk?
Scientists have been looking to find a cause for fibroids but have been unable to do so. No external factor affecting women has shown to cause them. A few studies do suggest that genes do play a role in the formation of fibroids, but the results were inconclusive.
Women generally between the ages of 30 and 40 are at risk of developing fibroids, until they reach menopause. Fibroids tend to stop forming or shrink if they already exist, after menopause. Studies have shown that overweight women are more likely to develop them than healthy women. As mentioned above, women who have a family history of fibroids are more likely to get it. Research shows that daughters of women who have fibroids are three times more likely to develop them than the average woman.
How would I know if I have uterine fibroids?
Most women with fibroids experience no symptoms. However, if you fall into the above risk category and want to know if you have fibroids or not, check for the signs. Remember that only a large number of fibroids produce extreme symptoms.
Some of the listed symptoms to watch out for are:
- Trouble getting pregnant
- Heavy or extended periods
- Bleeding or spotting in between cycles
- Pelvic pressure and pain
- The need to frequently urinate
- Lower back pain
- Intense pain during intercourse
If you do feel like your body is showing some of these symptoms, then the best way to handle it is to consult a medical professional.
More often than not, Fibroids are found through physical tests. While being checked, you may feel a painless, irregular, firm lump during a pelvic exam. The best way to know for sure is to get it tested. The two main testing options are an Ultrasound and an MRI. An ultrasound will scan your uterus with sound waves and uses a pitch with a high frequency so we cannot hear it. The MRI will use magnets and radio waves to get a better understanding of how many, if any, fibroids are in your uterus.
Fibroids are not as scary as they sound.
More often than not, active treatment is not required. Fibroid treatment depends significantly on the number of fibroids, how bad the symptoms are affecting you, your age, other health conditions and so on.
In the rare circumstances that fibroids are cancerous, they are often not that scary and worrisome. As long you check them regularly with a medical professional, they should remain unaffected. Remember to get a checkup in case you are worried about uterine fibroids!