Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in or around the wombs (uterus). The changes consist of muscle and fibrous tissue and are of different sizes.
In addition to the size and number of fibroids, the type can also influence treatment recommendations. There are three main types of fibroids:
- Underground fibroids: these are the most frequently used fibroids. They can push into the pelvis outside the uterus. Subserosal fibroids may sometimes grow wide and sometimes have a stalk attached to the womb.
- Intramural fibroids: These fibroids develop in the uterine muscular wall.
- Fibroids submucosal: These fibroids are rare. They can grow into the open space within the uterus and include a stalk.
Many women do not know that they have fibroids because they have no symptoms. Some of the most common fibroid symptoms are the following:
- Long or heavy periods
- Frequent Urination
- Pressure and pelvic pain
- Bleed between periods
- Hard to get pregnant
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain during intercourse
In rare cases, additional fibroid complications may affect or cause infertility.
Doctors do not know the cause of uterine fibroids, but clinical research and experience suggest these factors:
- Genetic modifications — Many fibroids contain gene changes that differ from normal uterine muscle cells.
- Hormones– Estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that stimulate uterine lining development in pregnancy preparation, appear to support the growth of fibroids during each menstrual cycle. Fibroids have more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal muscle cells have. After menopause, fibroids tend to shrink due to a decline in hormone production.
- Additional growth factors. Fibroid growth may be affected by substances that help the body maintain tissues, such as insulin-like growth factors.
- Extraordinary matrix (ECM). ECM is the material that sticks cells like the mortar between bricks together. ECM is also responsible for storing growth factors and causing biological cell changes.
Doctors believe uterine fibroids develop from a stem cell in the uterine smooth muscle tissue (myometrium). A single cell repeatedly divides, creating a solid rubber mass that is different from nearby tissue.
The growth patterns of uterine fibroids are different — they can grow slowly or quickly or remain the same size. Many of the fibroids which occur during pregnancy shrink or disappear after pregnancy, as the uterus is normal.
- Fibroids need not be treated unless they are symptomatic. Over time, they often shrink and disappear, especially after menopause, without treatment.
- If you have fibroid symptoms, you will usually recommend medicine to help relieve your symptoms first.
- Medicines are available to help reduce fibroids. If ineffective, surgery or other, we recommend less invasive procedures.
Although researchers continue to study the causes of fibroid tumors, there is little scientific evidence of prevention. It may not be possible to prevent uterine fibroids, but only a tiny percentage of these tumors are treated.
But you can reduce your fibroid risk by making healthy choices, such as maintaining average weights and eating fruits and vegetables. Fibroids are tumors made from fibrous connective tissue and smooth muscle cells. They develop in the uterus. 70-80 per cent of women are estimated to develop fibroids in their lives, but not all of them have symptoms or need to be treated. Fibroid cancer is sporadic. It is therefore reasonable for women without symptoms to choose observation rather than treatment.