Uterine Fibroids is a medical term for benign cysts, tumors or growths on the uterus. It is unusual for fibroids to develop into cancerous tumors, so while they can cause pain and be life-threatening due to their ability to disrupt the normal flow within the body, most sufferers know that they won’t spread and attack any other organs or vital organs throughout the body.
Uterine fibroids are one kind out of many different kinds of tumors. Although it is as yet unclear what directly causes them to develop in the uterus, these tumors are usually associated with a hormonal imbalance. When it happens that an imbalance occurs in some individuals, larger uterine muscle fibers begin to multiply and grow while they become engorged with blood. This growth then results in the formation of small (like those from pea-sized up to chestnut-sized), benign tumors that grow attached to the inner walls of the uterine muscle.
Generally, at this early stage of development, these start-ups are not detected by either sufferer or doctor because they are often asymptomatic. It is only as time progresses that these organizations can grow larger until they eventually grow to the size of a football (an infamous story tells of one that grew so large it nearly killed its victim!). It goes without saying that by this point the patient has become aware of their swelling reproductive organs in one way or another through either physical examination and/or symptoms such as
* heavy, painful or irregular periods, or all three;
* blood spotting between menses;
* bloating and gastrointestinal symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhoea and pain when defecating;
* stomach and lower back pain;
* painful sexual intercourse;
* problems with urination, or being unable to urinate;
* and infertility.
Uterine fibroids are not widely considered as a cause of infertility, they ultimately contribute to 3% of sterility cases. When uterine fibroids are to blame for fertility issues, the infertility is usually caused by a fibroid being located in an area that affects the mucus of a woman’s womb. Due to this it has been discovered that this hostile environment prevents the embryo from implanting and growing. Fibroids may also become enlarged and block or distort the optimum shape of a women fallopian tubes which then reduces their ability for sperm to meet egg and fertilize properly.
Uterine fibroids can threaten a woman’s ability to carry a baby to term and pose serious risks to her pregnancy and the development of a fetus. However, uterine fibroids don’t seem to affect the risk of miscarriage.
Uterine fibroids can be and often are surgically removed. There are other treatments that alleviate pain and symptoms of the condition including prescribing the oral contraceptive pill, various analgesics, ultrasound fibroid destruction, hormone therapy or sometimes even a hysterectomy which is a last resort.