- Uterine Fibroid: Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
- 1. What is a uterine fibroid?
- 2. Symptoms of fibroids:
- 3. Types of fibroids:
- 4. Uterine fibroids causes:
- 5. Risk factors for uterine fibroids:
- 7. Uterine fibroids and pregnancy:
- 8. Diagnosis of uterine fibroid:
- 9. The complication of uterine fibroids:
- 10. Treatment of uterine fibroids:
- 11. How to shrink fibroids naturally?
- 12. Disclaimer:
Uterine Fibroid: Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Uterine fibroid, also called fibroid tumor, is a non-cancerous growth in the uterus. These growths are common in the reproductive age of females and, most of the time, do not cause any symptoms. Size, shape, position, and the number of fibroids vary with every woman. It also varies according to the age of the female.
1. What is a uterine fibroid?
The medical term for uterine fibroid or fibroid tumor is Leiomyomas or myomas. These tumors can grow in any layer of the uterus. Sometimes these fibroids may also appear in stem-like structures (attached with a thin layer to the uterus and freely dangling in the uterine cavity).
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow on or within the uterine wall. Uterine fibroids are also known as myoma or leiomyoma of the uterus. They can project into the bowel, bladder, and intestine from the uterine wall. They can also project into the uterine cavity on a narrow stem-like growth from the uterine wall.
These fibroids can be a single growth or there could me multiple fibroids forming a cluster. If a fibroid or its cluster is large, the uterus could be pushed aside or forced to grow abnormally. Fibroids can be very small or large and are mostly non-cancerous even if they are large. They are usually found in females in middle reproductive and later years.
Most fibroids do not have any symptoms initially, but cause painful and heavy menstruation, urinary urgency and frequency, and constipation when they grow. Among 20 to 40 percent of the female population who have fibroids, only some need require treatment, as these fibroids often shrink after menopause and rarely cause any problems.
Uterine fibroids are classified as intramural, subserosal, submucosal and cervical:
- Intramural fibroids: are the most common type. They are found inside the uterine wall.
- Subserosal fibroids: can become very large and are found beneath the mucosal surface of the uterus.
- Submucosal fibroids: are found beneath the endometrium of the uterus.
- Cervical fibroids: are found at the neck of the uterus.
Some important points about fibroid are:
- Fibroids are not cancerous.
- You can have fibroids, but never know.
- It is common in 20-50 yrs.
- Fibroid can be one or multiple.
- It can be very small and large both.
Changing estrogen levels causes a growth of uterine fibroids in females. When the levels of estrogen are high due to pregnancy or contraceptive pills, the growth rate of fibroid increases.
Uterine fibroids are found in 20 percent of women who are above 30 years. It rarely occurs in women before they start menstruating. Fibroids could be genetic or it could be due to other factors such as overweight or no childbirth. Black women are much more prone to this condition than other women.
Uterine fibroids are mostly found when a lumpy or irregular uterus is noticed by the doctor during internal examination done routinely. If the symptoms are painful or recurring, an ultrasound would be arranged by the doctor to differentiate fibroids from tumors and cysts.
If the growth of the fibroids is within the uterine cavity, a hysteroscope is used. The hysteroscope is a tube used for viewing the fibroid and it is inserted into the uterus through the cervix and vagina. Mostly, only fibroids causing symptoms need to be treated.
The fibroids causing symptoms can be treated by medication for controlling and shrinking tumours, ultrasound fibroid destruction, and reducing blood supply to fibroids through different methods surgically aided, myomectomy and hysterectomy.
2. Symptoms of fibroids:
Most of the time uterine fibroids are asymptomatic and accidentally diagnosed in routine pelvic examination or in pelvic ultrasound. But sometimes uterine fibroid may cause some problems also.
Uterine fibroids symptoms can cause some discomfort for the individual. Although uterine fibroids are not cancerous tumors. Many times individuals complain of acute pain. This can be an indication that the fibroid has outgrown its blood supply. In this case, the pain is caused by the growth dying off. As the tumor dies it can also secrete fluids into the surrounding tissues. This can also trigger uterine fibroids symptoms that include pain and sometimes even a fever.
There are a number of uterine fibroids symptoms that appear to be generally experienced by women with uterine fibroids. These uterine fibroids symptoms include constipation, pelvic pressure or pain, and frequent urination. If the individual suffers from very heavy menstrual flow, this is also and indicating symptom of uterine fibroids. The heavy flow may also trigger the individual to suffer from pain and periods that endure for more than 7 days.
How severe uterine fibroids symptoms become depend on not only the size of the tumor, but also its location. For instance, if the fibroid in question is a growth that is located inside the uterus it will interfere with attempting pregnancy and menstrual cycles. These types of fibroids are called submucosal fibroids. Growing within the inner cavity of the uterus they can cause heavy bleeding and prelonged length of the menstrual period.
a. Menstruation and fibroid
- Dysfunctional uterine bleeding: Bleeding from uterus other than normal menstruation bleeding is called as dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB). Uterine fibroid causes abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- Heavy menstruation: Uterine fibroid increases the surface area of uterus which leads to excessive menstruation growth and heavy menstruation bleeding.
- Dysmenorrhoea: Painful and heavy menses are two important symptoms of fibroids in uterus.
b. Pain in uterine fibroid
- Lower abdomen pain: Lower abdomen pain or heaviness and discomfort are also common with symptomatic uterine fibroids.
- Dyspareunia: Pain during or after sex may also present in fibroids.
- Urination: Pain in urination or feeling of pressure while urinating is caused by fibroids.
Fibroid in uterus causes anemia due to heavy periods and abnormal bleeding in menstruation.
Rectal piles or difficult bowel movement may be present due to pressure of fibroid size.
e. Backache and pains in the legs
A backache and pains in the legs can also be one of the uterine fibroids symptoms that the individual must endure.
So, uterine fibroid symptoms can be varying from minor ache to severe bleeding or severe anaemia. Thoroughly investigation and clinical examination is must.
How serious are uterine fibroids symptoms?
A subserosal fibroid is one in which grows on the exterior of the uterus. Again, depending on the location of the growth will depend on where pain and symptoms are experienced. The size of these growths will also determine the severity of the uterine fibroids symptoms. If they bulge from the front of the uterus, the outcome can be symptoms surrounding and concerning the bladder. These can include difficulty emptying the bladder, constant urge for urination and pelvic pressure or pain.
If the fibroids extend from the rear of the uterus, the uterine fibroids symptoms can include those issues that concern the lower back and the bowels. One may become constipated, or experience acute pain in their lower back and even their legs. Uterine fibroids symptoms from tumors located in this position can also include issues with the nerves in the lower spine. These nerves can become pinched or experience such a large amount of pressure that pain is the result.
While uterine fibroids symptoms can be quite uncomfortable and painful, they are not life threatening. There are some instances though where the individual will want to contact their physician if the uterine fibroids symptoms worsen. Some of these instances include if the individual experiences overly heavy or painful menstrual periods. One should also contact their physician if there is pain with intercourse, or the individual experiences pelvic pain that will not dissipate.
Other uterine fibroids symptoms that should prompt a consultation with your doctor is if the individual has extreme difficulty emptying their bladder or their bowels. Spotting and bleeding between periods can also indicate a problem that needs medical attention. Finally, if the uterine fibroids symtpoms include the sudden onset of vaginal bleeding or sharp pain, immediately consult a doctor.
3. Types of fibroids:
Fibroids are divided based upon their position in uterus muscles or layers.
- Inner layer fibroid: Fibroid originated from tumors inner layer of uterus is known as submucosal fibroids. These fibroids bulge into uterine cavity.
- Middle layer or intramural fibroids: These fibroids are found within the muscular layer of uterus.
- Outer layer fibroids: This, also known as subserosal fibroid, grows outside of uterine cavity.
4. Uterine fibroids causes:
There are numerous hypotheses and still in research but what causes uterine fibroids is still a question of doubt. Researchers are still unclear about exact cause of it. Some of the hypotheses are:
- Genetic causes: The Chromosomal structure of single fibroid cell differs from normal uterine cell.
- Hormonal causes: Two female hormone estrogens and progesterone are responsible for normal uterine growth and shading. With unknown reason, fibroid tends to have more receptor for hormone response, that’s why uterus shows excessive growth in the form of uterus tumours.
5. Risk factors for uterine fibroids:
a. Reproductive age of women:
Uterine fibroids are uncommon before menarche and after menopause. After menopause, the previous fibroid also tends to shrink on its own because hormonal level goes down after menopause, and fibroids are very responsive to female hormones.
2-3 years before menopause, hormones level fluctuate considerably. So during this time, uterine fibroid tends to grow very faster.
Females with a family history of the fibroid are at risk. Percentage of risk increases with close relative history. Women with obesity and diabetes have more risk.
d. Live birth and pregnancy:
Some studies suggest that female with 1-2 childbirth has less chance to develop fibroid compared to female without pregnancy. Although it is still unclear that does pregnancy plays any role in the prevention of uterine fibroid or fibroid itself causes infertility?
7. Uterine fibroids and pregnancy:
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow on or within the uterine wall. They can grow as a single tumor or in multiples, as a cluster in the uterus. These fibroids vary in size and can be as small as an apple seed’s size or, in certain cases, they can grow to be very large, however such cases are very rare.
Uterine fibroids are a common problem seen in almost 20 to 80 percent of women before they hit menopause. Fibroids are usually found in women in the age group between 20 and 50. Some women having fibroids feel no symptoms whereas others suffer from heavy and painful menstrual bleeding, painful sexual intercourse, irritation of the bladder and frequent urination, pelvic pressure and depression.
The size of fibroids tends to increase during pregnancy but mostly will not cause any symptoms. Some pregnant women experience minor symptoms, light bleeding and pelvic pain in particular. In some cases pregnant women having fibroids do not experience any complications in pregnancy.
However, in most of the case, the chances of miscarriage is increased by fibroids during the first or second trimester and later it also causes premature labor possibility, especially between the 20th and 28th weeks or 29th and 37th weeks.
As per studies conducted, the chances of going into premature labor before 37 weeks for a woman without fibroids were 8%, but for women with fibroids it was 12% to 20%. Some of the complications that uterine fibroids can cause during or for pregnancy are given below:
8. Diagnosis of uterine fibroid:
A pelvic examination by a health care provider provides some information about the size, shape, and position of the uterus. But still, other tests and imaging for confirmation are needed, which are as follows:
- Endometrial biopsy
9. The complication of uterine fibroids:
- Heavy bleeding may lead to severe anemia.
- Pain: Severe pain either due to twisting of fibroid or due to nerve block from heavy fibroid initiate severe pain.
- Urinary infection or urinary retention: Fibroid may lead toward severe urinary infection and sometimes retention of urine ( unable to pass urine)
- Cancer: Most of the time, fibroids do not turn into cancer, but rarely do they can. So regular check-up is necessary.
10. Treatment of uterine fibroids:
Treatment of uterine fibroid depends upon severity conditions and possible complications. Iron, multivitamin supplements, and hormonal tablets may be given to treat vaginal bleeding and anemia.
The ideal treatment for uterine fibroid is “wait and watch”. As discussed earlier, most fibroids tend to shrink after menopause, so there is no need to worry. Only supportive care and symptom management are the treatments needed.
You should also go for a regular pelvic exam and ultrasound to check growth or shrinkage of fibroid, as most of the tumors shrink, but some may show excessive growth, and they need to be removed surgically.
Treatment for complicated uterine fibroid:
- Hysteroscopy: In this procedure, the only fibroid is surgically removed, and the uterus is saved.
- Myomectomy: This is another procedure where the only fibroid is removed, and the uterus is saved.
- Uterine artery embolization: Blood supply towards fibroid is permanently terminated, which causes the death of fibroid cells. This procedure is not very successful as the human body cannot regrow new blood vessels.
- Hysterectomy: In this process uterus is removed completely.
- Hormone therapy: Studies have shown that this condition comes about from an overproduction of estrogen in the body. This treatment consists of starving the uterus from this hormone. It will prevent your body from producing an excess of estrogen. The drug that is used for this process is called Lupron and it is known to shrink fibroid tumors without having to undergo surgery.However some of the side effects that you may experience from using this method are; hot flashes, trouble sleeping and premature bone mineral loss.
Read more: Genital Herpes in Men and Women
11. How to shrink fibroids naturally?
There are just a handful of alternative practitioners and even fewer doctors working in general medicine who will naturally advise how to shrink fibroids. Because of this, many women become very frustrated with the lack of options that seem to be available, and who can blame them? Therefore, many women are led to believe that their only options are to live with the fibroids and all the accompanying symptoms or have medical treatments that merely mask the symptoms.
a. Natural treatment for uterine fibroids:
For women suffering from this condition, natural treatment for fibroids sounds like the ideal solution. However, there is very little information in the public domain, which teaches us how to shrink fibroids naturally. A handful of alternative practitioners specialize in teaching women methods that will shrink fibroids over time, and indeed, thousands of women worldwide have seen much success in this respect.
However, these practitioners are very often in high demand and have long waiting lists, and are, as a consequence, very expensive. Many believe that the very fact that fibroids are rarely dangerous leads doctors to treat them with less importance than other conditions which may be life-threatening. This may be why it is often recommended that women do nothing at all about their fibroids and that they should simply put up with the symptoms until menopause, when they are likely to shrink naturally. Now, this is all well and good if you are nearing menopause and your symptoms are not severe.
For many women, though, the reality is very different, with years stretching ahead filled with symptoms such as heavy bleeding, pain during intercourse, bowel and bladder problems, bloating, and indigestion. The terrible symptoms caused by fibroids often lead women to take the surgical options which are offered as a last resort. These may include the removal of individual fibroids, the injection of particles into the arteries supplying the fibroids to stop their blood supply or the removal of the uterine lining. In severe cases, a hysterectomy might be offered.
You need to find out what the cause is?
It is vital that you recognize that with the exception of a hysterectomy, the fibroids are likely to regrow following the other forms of treatment as nothing has been done to remove the causes, which will still exist after surgery. Natural treatment for fibroids approaches the situation in a completely different way. Rather than removing the fibroids, it takes into account what has caused them in the first place and eliminates this, thus ensuring that existing fibroids have had their growth medium removed and that new ones will not start. However, if you think this sounds simplistic, then it does. The causes of fibroids are rarely down to one factor, and their growth is often sparked by the subtle interaction of a number of factors that happen to be present.
This means that to shrink fibroids naturally, you are required to be proactive in your own treatment, and you may have to make various lifestyle and dietary changes. One of the main factors involved in fibroids growth is the presence of an excess of estrogen in the body. Estrogen acts as a type of “fuel” for fibroids, and although other conditions and factors undoubtedly play a part, this is usually the underlying factor in most cases.
Lowering estrogen levels is of primary importance:
A good starting point is usually to look at what steps you can take to reduce your estrogen levels. As estrogen is both stored in and manufactured by fat cells, some women find that losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight in the future can prevent further fibroid growth and, in some cases, help them shrink a little.
For others, the estrogen problem could be a little more complicated. Estrogen-mimicking compounds are often stored in the liver and can be notoriously difficult to eliminate. These often come from pesticides and environmental pollutants. One natural treatment for fibroids is to follow a good liver detox plan, often involving the use of liver-cleansing herbs. Once this is done, it is important to limit your consumption of non-organic foods and processed meats, both of which can contribute to this problem.
Please bear in mind, though, this requires you to be proactive and take charge of your own healing by making dietary and lifestyle changes, and following a systematic program-it is not suitable for women who simply want to take a tablet and be cured.
b. Herbal treatment for uterine fibroids:
Alternative practitioners have used herbal treatment for uterine fibroids for many years, and many believe that it can help shrink fibroids naturally if used correctly. However, when used in isolation, it is unlikely to have a worthwhile effect.
They are not a condition that can be “caught” but often develop due to the subtle interaction of a number of factors that happen to be present within a woman’s body. For this reason, to shrink fibroids naturally, it is important to tackle the issue from various angles, and it has been shown that herbal treatment for fibroids can if used correctly, contribute to the success of an overall treatment plan.
One of the main causes of fibroids is an excess of estrogen, and it has been shown that this is a factor in almost all cases of fibroids. The most common cause of excess estrogen is overweight. This is because estrogen is both stored in and produced by fat cells and this, coupled with other possible factors, can spark off fibroid growth. Fortunately, weight control can play a large part in reducing the amount of estrogen present in the body, and many women who have fibroids who subsequently lose weight often find that their fibroids stop growing and may, in some cases, shrink naturally without further intervention.
Exposure to certain environmental toxins and pollutants can help fuel fibroid growth, and the residues from these can remain in the liver for many years, fueling the growth of fibroids.
However, this is one of the areas where herbal treatment for fibroids can really help. Herbs that are known to help remove harmful compounds from the liver, which in turn can help shrink fibroids include Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root, and Artichoke Extract.
Other herbs can also help control the unpleasant symptoms of fibroids, including Yam, Nettles, Ginger, Willow, and Cinnamon.
c. Home remedies for fibroids:
Home remedies for fibroids can work particularly well if followed correctly. The very nature of fibroids means that conventional treatments are simply not usually the best course of action. Indeed, many doctors advocate leaving fibroids well alone as they will shrink naturally around the time of menopause. Fibroids are very rarely life-threatening or in any way considered dangerous, and some would see it as an easy option for doctors when they recommend taking no action to treat them. Now, this is all well and good if you are close to menopause or your fibroids are not causing any problems.
It is a different matter altogether, though, if you have large fibroids, causing unpleasant, uncomfortable symptoms such as heavy bleeding, anemia, bloating, bowel and bladder problems, and even breathlessness. In addition, living with these symptoms can seem like a life sentence if you are years away from menopause. There is no one cause of fibroids, but they grow in response to various factors which subtly interact within a woman’s body, causing fibroid growth.
The following home remedies for fibroids could help shrink fibroids naturally:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid a high intake of meat and saturated fats
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a balanced healthy diet that is low in fat and high fiber
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and salt
- Take supplements of the following vitamins-A, C and E
- Try a liver detox to break down excess estrogen, which can be stored in the liver. In addition, a number of Chinese herbalists recommend dandelion, milk thistle, and yellow dock root as helpful additions to home remedies for fibroids, and a reputable practitioner should be consulted should you wish to try this option.
There is a complete plan which guarantees that you can eliminate fibroids naturally by using a multi-faceted approach that takes care of all the different aspects of what can cause fibroids. Fibroids are very rarely dangerous, and once you have received confirmation that your fibroids are not life-threatening, there is every reason to try to shrink fibroids naturally by using home remedies for fibroids. The investment of time and effort can pay huge dividends, and most women who correctly follow the given advice will find the symptoms of fibroids (even large ones) banished forever.
The above article is only for knowledge purposes. Please contact your healthcare provider before using any of the above medicine or method. For any query or personal consultation according to your health condition, please contact the doctor.