Fibroids and You

1 Comment » March 27th, 2016 posted by // Categories: Health



 

THIS DAY

Fibroids and You

 

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb. The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue and vary in size. They’re sometimes known as uterine myomas. Many women are unaware they have fibroids because they don’t have any symptoms.
• Fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or on a woman’s uterus.
• It is unclear why fibroids develop, but several factors may influence their formation, such as hormones and family history.
• About 70 to 80 per cent of women experience fibroids by the age of 50.
Fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or on a woman’s uterus. Sometimes, these tumors become quite large and cause severe abdominal pain and heavy periods. In other cases, they cause no signs or symptoms at all. The growths are typically noncancerous. The cause of fibroids is unknown. It is known that about 70 to 80 per cent of women have them by the age of 50. They are benign tumours usually seen in the system female reproductive system. In more than 99 per cent of fibroid cases, the tumors are non-cancerous. These tumors are not associated with cancer and do not increase a woman’s risk for uterine cancer. They may range in size, from the size of a pea to the size of a softball or small grapefruit.

Causes
While it is not clearly known what causes fibroids, it is believed that each tumor develops from an aberrant muscle cell in the uterus, which multiplies rapidly because of the influence of estrogen.
The location, size and the number of fibroids determines the symptoms and treatment of fibroids. :
• Submucosal fibroids. Fibroids that grow into the inner cavity of the uterus are more likely to cause prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding and are sometimes a problem for women attempting pregnancy.
• Subserosal fibroids. Fibroids that project to the outside of the uterus can sometimes press on your bladder, causing you to experience urinary symptoms. If fibroids bulge from the back of your uterus, they occasionally can press either on your rectum, causing a pressure sensation, or on your spinal nerves, causing backache.
• Intramural fibroids. Some fibroids grow within the muscular uterine wall (intramural fibroids). If large enough, they can distort the shape of the uterus and cause prolonged, heavy periods, as well as pain and pressure.
Symptoms
Fibroids may not cause you any symptoms. You may get one or more of the symptoms listed below, often depending on where the fibroid is within your womb. You may:
• have heavy periods, sometimes leading to anaemia
• have swelling in your tummy (abdomen)
• feel pain in your pelvis
• pass urine more often, or feel an urgent need to pass urine – A firm mass, often located near the middle of the pelvis, which can be felt by the physician
• In some cases, the heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, or the abnormal bleeding between periods, can lead to iron-deficiency anemia, which also requires treatment.this happens if a fibroid is pressing on your bladder
• have constipation – this happens if a fibroid is pressing on your bowel
• You can get severe pain if your fibroid twists or outgrows its blood supply causing it to break down, but this is rare.
Women who are approaching menopause are at the greatest risk for fibroids because of their long exposure to high levels of estrogen.
• A firm mass, often located near the middle of the pelvis, which can be felt by the physician.
• Backache or leg pains
• Rarely, a fibroid can cause acute pain when it outgrows its blood supply. Deprived of nutrients, the fibroid begins to die. Byproducts from a degenerating fibroid can seep into surrounding tissue, causing pain and, rarely, fever. A fibroid that hangs by a stalk inside or outside the uterus (pedunculated fibroid) can trigger pain by twisting on its stalk and cutting off its blood supply.
• In some cases, the heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, or the abnormal bleeding between periods, can lead to iron-deficiency anemia, which also requires treatment.

Risk group
Research has also shown that some factors may protect a woman from developing fibroids. Some studies, of small numbers of women, have indicated that women who have had two liveborn children have a fifty per cent lower risk of developing uterine fibroids compared to women who have had no children. Scientists are not sure whether having children actually protected women from fibroids or whether fibroids were a factor in infertility in women who had no children.
Women who are approaching menopause are at the greatest risk for fibroids because of their long exposure to high levels of estrogen.
Women who are obese and of African-American heritage also seem to be at an increased risk, although the reasons for this are not clearly understood.

Research has also shown that some factors may protect a woman from developing fibroids. Some studies, of small numbers of women, have indicated that women who have had two liveborn children have one-half the risk of developing uterine fibroids compared to women who have had no children. Scientists are not sure whether having children actually protected women from fibroids or whether fibroids were a factor in infertility in women who had no children.

Diagnosis
Fibroids are most often found during a routine pelvic examination. This, along with an abdominal examination, may indicate a firm, irregular pelvic mass to the physician. In addition to a complete medical history and physical and pelvic and/or abdominal examination, diagnostic procedures for uterine fibroids may include:

• X-ray. Electromagnetic energy used to produce images of bones and internal organs onto film.
• Transvaginal ultrasound (also called ultrasonography). An ultrasound test using a small instrument, called a transducer,that is placed in the vagina.
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A non-invasive procedure that produces a two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure.
• Hysterosalpingography. X-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes that uses dye and is often performed to rule out tubal obstruction.
• Hysteroscopy. Visual examination of the canal of the cervix and the interior of the uterus using a viewing instrument is inserted through the vagina.
• Endometrial biopsy. A procedure in which a sample of tissue is obtained through a tube which is inserted into the uterus.
• Blood test to check for iron-deficiency anemia if heavy bleeding is caused by the fibroid.

Treatments
It is known , that most fibroids stop growing or may even shrink as a woman approaches menopause, therefore, your doctor may decide to just wait. With this approach, it involves monitoring the woman’s symptoms carefully to ensure that there are no significant changes or developments and that the fibroids are not growing.

Exceptions
In women whose fibroids are large or are causing significant symptoms, treatment may be necessary. Treatment will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your overall health and medical history

Extent of the disease
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the disease
Your opinion or preference
Your desire for pregnancy
In general, treatment for fibroids may include:
• Hysterectomy. Hysterectomies involve the surgical removal of the entire uterus
• Conservative surgical therapy. Conservative surgical therapy uses myomectomy procedure. The surgeon removes the fibroids, but leave the uterus intact to enable a future pregnancy.
• Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH agonists). This approach lowers levels of estrogen and triggers a “medical menopause.” Sometimes GnRH agonists are used to shrink the fibroid, making surgical treatment easier.
• Anti-hormonal agents. Certain drugs oppose estrogen, and appear effective in treating fibroids. Anti-progestins, which block the action of progesterone, are also sometimes used.
• Uterine artery embolisation. Also called uterine fibroid embolisation, is a newer minimally-invasive without a large abdominal incision technique. The arteries supplying blood to the fibroids are identified, then embolised, blocked off. The embolisation cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids. Then your doctor will continue to evaluate the long-term implications of this procedure on fertility and regrowth of the fibroid tissue.
Anti-inflammatory painkillers. This type of drug is often effective for women who experience occasional pelvic pain or discomfort.

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One Response to “Fibroids and You”

  1. Anti-hormonal agents. Certain drugs oppose estrogen, and appear effective in treating fibroids. Anti-progestins, which block the action of progesterone, are also sometimes used.

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