3 Facts You May Not Know About Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are tumors, made of muscle, that attach and grow inside your uterus, on the uterine wall. Uterine fibroids can cause irregular periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, and discomfort in the pelvic region, and they may interfere with conception.

Although you may have some of these symptoms, all of them, or perhaps these and more, uterine fibroids have no symptoms at all, so you may not even be aware that you have them.

According to the National Institutes of Health, studies show that by age 50, 70% of Caucasian women and 80% of African-American women had fibroids.

Despite physicians’ best attempts to avoid removing the uterus, a hysterectomy may be the only reasonable course if the fibroids cause pain, are too numerous to remove surgically, or are a source of heavy, debilitating bleeding. More than 200,000 hysterectomies are performed in the U.S. annually because of uterine fibroids.

While statistics like these are daunting, uterine fibroids aren’t cause for panic. When caught early, or if their occurrence is minimal, there are many other options for dealing with your uterine fibroids that don’t involve removing your uterus. At Ideal Women’s Health Specialists, Srisawai Pattamakom, MD, believes in turning to a hysterectomy as a truly last resort.

The basics of uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids can interfere with your daily activities, or you may not even realize you have them. They can be the size of a mustard seed, barely discernible to even the trained eye, or they can be large masses of muscle tissue that change the very shape and appearance of your uterus.

There are three distinctly different types of fibroid tumors that may be present in your uterus. Intramural uterine fibroids are found within the muscular wall of the uterus, submucosal fibroids  grow on stalks, and inward, or project into the uterine cavity, and subserosal fibroids, also on stalks, project away from the uterus, forming bumps in the outer uterine wall.

3 facts about uterine fibroids

These fibroid uterine growths are somewhat unpredictable, as you can see. The only sure thing is that your risk for developing uterine fibroids is great. Here are three facts you may find surprising about uterine fibroids:

1. Uterine fibroids are rarely, if ever, cancerous

True fibroid tumors are not cancerous, nor can they become cancerous, nor do they predispose you to developing cancer. True uterine fibroids are simply clumps and lumps of muscle and other tissue.

In very rare cases, a certain type of cancer can present itself in much the same way as uterine fibroids, called uterine sarcoma. You’ll want to discuss your risk with Dr. Pattamakom to ease your mind.

2. Pregnancy is still possible with uterine fibroids

In fact, many women don’t even know they have uterine fibroids until a prenatal ultrasound shows them. You can, most assuredly, continue with an issue-free pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby, even when fibroids are present. If you’ve had trouble conceiving, and have some, or all, of the symptoms of uterine fibroids, you want to alert Dr. Pattamakom.

3. There is no known cause of uterine fibroids

Even with the huge number of women who develop uterine fibroids during their childbearing years, there is no known cause. Many researchers suspect a hormonal link, specifically estrogen- and progesterone-related, because uterine fibroids are rarely seen prior to a young woman starting her menstrual period, and they decrease once a woman has entered menopause.

Diet, environmental factors, and even stress have also been connected to the development of uterine fibroids, but no conclusive cause has been discovered.

Get help for your uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids can be confounding, so it’s essential to your health and well-being to address any concerns you have right away. As your fibroids grow, and possibly increase in number, you may have fewer treatment options.

There are some minimally invasive procedures available, and medications can control your symptoms. Contact Ideal Women’s Health Specialists in Ventura, California, for more information, or if you suspect you may have uterine fibroids. Together we’ll find the right treatment for you.

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