Uterine fibroid is a kind of muscular tumour that grows in the uterus. Mostly, these growths are non cancerous in nature and occur to females during their most reproductive years between the age of 18 to 50.
These fibroids are found in various locations, sizes & shapes, they may or may not cause any symptoms. Usually, the fibroid starts to shrink by its own after the menopause.
Pathology of fibroid uterus
Fibroids of uterus usually result when the hormones- estrogen & progesterone level increases in the body. However, doctors are still not clear about the exact cause of uterine fibroids, but it’s the research that currently believes in few of such reasons.
Other causes may include a family history of fibroids, if your other mother or sister has had this condition then you are more likely to have it too.
Some gene changes may also be responsible for this condition.
Causes and Risk factors for fibroid uterus
There are many factors that can increase the risk of uterine fibroids. Females who matches with some or the other risk factors mentioned below are more prone to this condition than the women who doesn’t.
The risk factors include:
- A family history of fibroids
- African- American descent females
- Overuse of Birth control pills
- Periods beginning at the very young age
- Deficiency of vitamin D in the body
- Consuming red meat
- Exposure to some drugs & tobacco
- Consumption of alcohol
Some females may experience no symptoms at all, but you do may notice these symptoms:
- Painful periods
- Heavy bleeding during menstruation
- Periods lasting for a longer time
- Pain during intercourse
- Trouble emptying bladder
- Frequent urge of urinatation
- Enlarged uterus
- Back pain or leg pain
- Pain or pressure in lower stomach
- Spotting between periods
Lone term complications of fibroid uterus
- Problems with conception
- Leiomyosarcoma; a rare cancer
- Complications of labour
Females having these complications might be suffering from uterine fibroids. This condition continues to remain till menopause.
Diagnosis and investigations
These symptoms should not be ignored and is advised to consult your gynaecologist. She will obtain adequate history of your problems and do examination to ensure the other cause of the symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, the patients are advised to undergo investigations
- Routine blood and urine investigations.
- Ultrasonography of the abdomain and pelvis to ascertain the diagnosis of the fibroid uterus and its location and size
- Magnetic resonance imaging of the pelvis is performed to exactly see the location of the fibroid uterus and its relation to surrounding structures before planning for surgery.
The uterine fibroids treatment depend upon the symptoms, age of the patients, size and location in the uterus. Every patients with uterine fibroid are individualised according to the need of the medical treatment or surgical treatment.
Medical treatment involves hormonal medications and medication a to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. Medical treatment remains effective to the patients who have relatively small size of the fibroids with mild to moderate symptoms.
Surgery remains the mainstay of the management of fibroid uterus. The choice of surgery depends upon the size, location of the fibroid , age and preference of the patient. The surgery can be performed by minimal access surgery which is routinely performed and conventional open surgery especially in cases of large sized uterus and multiple fibroid of uterus. The surgical procedure performed are myomectomy( removal of fibroid) and hysterectomy ( Minimal access, vaginal or conventional open surgery)
The recovery after surgery is usually better with Minimal access techniques because of less pain and early mobility of the patients. The hospital stay of the patient is routinely 1-2 days. Patients are allowed to mobilise the same day of surgery and allow diet gradually upon the recovery.
Although, doctors suggest to wait till menopause because uterine fibroids may itself become less severe and with time, it also eases the symptoms.
There are various speculations about the exact cause of uterine fibroids so health professionals don’t claim a prototype prevention for this condition. However, other researchers suggest that following the below mentioned tips may help in preventing the females from uterine fibroids. Those prevention tips includes:
- Food items that are rich in vitamins and minerals can lower the risk of getting fibroids
- Maintaining a healthy body weight can also help in eliminating multiple diseases including uterine fibroids.
- Regularly exercising or a physically active life keeps the inner body functioning and reduce the risk of fibroids.
- Eating healthy food, green & fresh vegetables and avoiding junk food also contributing in lowering the risk of it.
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