Nearly 40 percent of women above 35 have fibroids. Fibroids are also known as leiomyomas or myomas. These are tissue growths inside the uterus, which occur during the reproductive age. They comprise of the muscle tissue of the uterus and the fibers of the connecting tissue. After menopause fibroids generally shrink.
Types of fibroids
Fibroids derive their name from the part of the uterus where they grow. The most common type of fibroid grows inside the wall of the uterus. They are called intramural fibroids. Subserosal or subserous fibroids grow on the exterior wall of the uterus, extending to the abdominal cavity. Submucous or submucosal fibroids extend from the interior wall of the uterus, extending inside the uterine cavity. The pedunculated fibroid is attached to the uterus by a narrow stalk.
Causes of Fibroids
What causes fibroids is not yet clear. Genetic reasons might attribute to the development of fibroids.
Symptoms of fibroids
The symptoms of fibroids are not visible in many women. Most of them are unaware of the occurrence of fibroid in their uterus. However, fibroids might be problematic for others. The most common symptom of fibroids is heavy menstrual flow that lasts for over a week. This might hamper their normal activities. Excess bleeding often causes anemia. If the fibroid is large, it might create pressure on other neighboring organs. Pelvic pain is a common symptom of occurrence of large fibroids. Pressure on the bladder would create a frequent urge to urinate. Even when the bladder is empty, she would feel the urge to urinate. Fibroids pressing the bowel might make one feel constipated. In worse circumstances, fibroids pressing one or both the ureters would block urine flow. If left untreated, it might cause severe kidney infections in future.
Fibroids and risk of cancer
Even though fibroids are considered as tumors, but they are rarely cancerous. In extremely rare cases, fibroids might develop into leiomyosarcoma, which is a type of cancer. The average age of developing leiomyosarcoma is 55 years. If vaginal bleeding continues after menopause and the size of fibroid increases rapidly, then it might indicate signs of cancer.
Doctors consider removing fibroids, only when it starts creating problems. Myomectomy and hysterectomy are two surgical procedures used for removing problematic fibroids. Medication could also be used for shrinking the fibroids.