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Added: Clarance Schafer - Date: 30.12.2021 12:16 - Views: 44258 - Clicks: 4296

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow along or within the walls of the uterus. They are primarily made up of smooth muscle cells, along with small amounts of other tissues. They range dramatically in size. Some fibroids are microscopic, whereas others may be eight or more inches across. On average, these tumors range from about the size of a large marble to a bit smaller than a baseball. Sometimes fibroids are found alone, and other times they grow in clusters.

Many of them grow, but others shrink or remain the same size as time passes. To understand this most common noncancerous tumor in women of childbearing age, read along as we provide medically-reviewed information about uterine fibroid symptoms, treatments, and pictures.

Along the way you will learn sometimes surprising facts about these growths, arming yourself with useful information. Fibroid tumors are benign by definition. When a smooth muscle tumor is cancerous, it is called leiomyosarcoma and occurs only once in every 1, smooth muscle tumors of the uterus.

This type of cancer is not believed to arise from benign fibroids. Your chances of developing a cancerous growth do not increase because you have uterine fibroids, nor does having them increase your chances of getting other uterine cancers. Most women with fibroids also known as leiomyomas experience no symptoms. These may involve abdominal pressure, which can feel like fullness in the pelvic region or bloating in the pelvis or stomach. Large leiomyomas can enlarge the lower stomach area, sometimes giving the false appearance of pregnancy.

Uterine fibroids can also impact your monthly menstrual cycle. This can take various forms. Some experience mild to severe cramping and pain. Others will find their bleeding is heavier, and their heavy periods sometimes include blood clots. Others find their menstruation lasts longer or becomes more frequent. It can also cause spotting or bleeding in between menstruation. Other potential symptoms of uterine fibroids include pain during sexual intercourse and lower back pain.

Because the leiomyomas can press against the bladder, they may provoke frequent urination. What's the difference between endometriosis and fibroid symptoms? Both uterine fibroids and endometriosis cause pelvic pain , and sometimes the two conditions can be confused. Someone with either endometriosis or fibroids may experience severe menstrual pain, as well as pain between periods. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the womb begins to grow outside of it—usually in the pelvic cavity.

It can also appear on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, on the bowels or bladder, and other nearby areas. Endometriosis is less common than uterine fibroids. The cause of uterine fibroids is still unknown. That's frustrating, because determining their cause could help scientists discover remedies and cures.

We do know that someone who begins her periods earlier in life is more likely to develop uterine fibroids. There also seems to be an elevated risk for women who take female hormones, but this does not apply to those on birth control pills.

While no one knows for certain what causes them, theories about the cause of leiomyomas abound. Some researchers suspect that growth hormones, genetic changes, estrogen, progesterone, or cells that are misplaced during fetal development may play a role in the development of fibroids.

None of these theories works to completely explain the condition, however. Research into the cause is ongoing. Subserosal fibroids grow outside of the uterus and are found on the serosa. The serosa is the thin, outermost layer of the uterus. With the help of ligaments, the serosa supports the womb within the pelvic cavity. Subserosal fibroids can be either sessile or pendunculated. Pendunculated subserosal fibroids grow on small stalks that project away from the outside of the womb. Intramural fibroids are the most common type of fibroid. They form in the myometrium of the uterus.

The myometrium is the middle layer of the uterus, and it is the thickest. Composed of smooth muscle, the myometrium is what contracts during a period to remove the endometrial lining. This type of leiomyoma may distort the shape of the womb. They occur within the endometrium , the thin, innermost layer that lines the inside of the uterus. They can be either pendunculated or sessile, like subserosal fibroids. Pendunculated submucosal fibroids grow on small stalks that project into the inner uterus.

Although these types are the definitions physicians use, they are limited. Most fibroids are actually hybrids spanning more than one area of the womb. You may also hear of parasitic fibroids, which receive blood from somewhere other than the uterus. Sometimes small fibroids—those smaller than four millimeters in diameter—are called seedling fibroids.

Leiomyomas are very common. Although their cause remains unknown, various factors indicate a higher risk of their occurrence. One risk factor is age. Once women reach their 30s and 40s, their risk increases. Women in their 30s are the ones most likely to acquire leiomyomas. After menopause , leiomyomas tend to shrink. Another risk factor is family history.

When your family member has the condition, your likelihood of experiencing them increases. If that family member is your mother, your odds of developing leiomyomas is about three times higher than average. Race also plays a part in determining one's likelihood of developing leiomyomas. Black Americans are slightly more likely than Caucasian Americans to develop them later in life, although for women under age 35 the likelihood is about the same regardless of race.

Asian women are less likely to develop fibroids. Diet plays another important part in the development of leiomyomas. Some foods seem to encourage them, while other foods seem to discourage them. Diets linked with a higher risk include a lot of red meat beef, ham.

Diets linked with a lower risk include plenty of green vegetables. Eating dairy products milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, etc. Eating enough micronutrients, including iron, vitamin A, and vitamin D , may also help lower a patient's risk. Because this condition can cause heavy bleeding, those affected may experience anemia or iron deficiency. Often this is mild and can be alleviated with iron pills and diet changes. If it goes untreated though, anemia can cause exhaustion and lethargy. In severe cases, heart problems can result from anemia.

Most women with leiomyomas have normal pregnancies. Nevertheless, leiomyomas are associated with increased risk for a range of fertility and pregnancy problems. The growths are associated with infertility, recurrent miscarriage, labor complications, and early labor. They also make breech births more likely. Because of the increase in labor complications and breech births, women with uterine fibroids are six times more likely to give birth via Cesarean section. There are a few complications of leiomyomas that will need a doctor's care. Go see your doctor if you experience heavy periods, or if your periods become more painful.

Talk to a doctor if you find it difficult to control your urination or if you urinate more frequently. If you notice the length of your periods increase for more than three cycles, or if you experience persistent heaviness or pain in your pelvis or lower abdomen, go see a doctor. Because there are often no symptoms, you may be wondering how you can know for sure if you have this condition. The answer involves a trip to the doctor. If your leiomyomas are big enough, a doctor may be able to feel them during a pelvic exam. Smaller ones can be picked up via ultrasound. Ultrasound is the most common way to diagnose leiomyomas with advanced imaging, but CT scans and MRIs are also used.

Another method is saline infusion sonography, during which salt water is injected into the womb to help provide clear ultrasound images. This may become the most useful method, as it can distinguish leiomyomas from other lesions. If you are interested in becoming pregnant, your doctor may suggest a test known as a hysterosalpingogram. This test outlines the uterus and fallopian tubes and can be useful in spotting abnormalities that your gynecologist should be aware of. What treatments are available for fibroids?

Since one of the common symptoms of this condition is painful periods, you may seek medication for additional care. Over-the-counter pain medicines like acetaminophen Tylenol , ibuprofen Advil and naproxen can help ease the pain. Periods can be heavier for those with uterine fibroids. Both standard birth control pills and their low-dose counterparts can help care for the symptom of heavy bleeding. Injected birth control including Depo-Provera can also help control bleeding during periods. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists GnRHa are another treatment used to control the development of uterine fibroids.

Taken as either an injection, implant, or nasal spray, these hormones causes the amount of estrogen in the body to drop, which can cause the leiomyomas to stop growing or shrink. For this reason, GnRHa are sometimes used prior to surgery to make the tumors easier to remove. Most women do not get their periods on GnRHa drugs, which brings further relief for fibroid symptoms and can help the blood count readjust after a bout of anemia. GnRHa are usually safe for women, and most can use the hormone without any negative consequences.

However some experience side effects similar to menopause symptoms , such as hot flashes, mood swings, decreased libido, sleeplessness , headaches , and t pain. Because it can cause bone thinning, GnRHa treatment is usually limited to six months—often the six months prior to surgery. After treatment, most fibroids quickly grow back to their original size. GnRHa drugs are very expensive. Some insurance plans will require you to cover some or all of their cost. Embolization is a nonsurgical procedure that deprives the fibroids of blood, causing them to shrink. To perform an embolization, a doctor will make a small incision into the groin area in order to place a thin tube catheter into a large blood vessel.

The tube is flexible, allowing it to snake along inside the blood vessel until it arrives near the leiomyoma, at which time a solution of tiny plastic or gel particles is injected, which blocks the blood supply to the growth. This procedure usually does not harm the uterus itself, which continues to be supplied by other blood vessels.

Embolization shrinks leiomyomas by half their size or more. This therapy isn't for everyone. The best candidates are those experiencing heavy bleeding whose uterine fibroids are causing pain or pressure on the bladder or rectum. The long-term effects on pregnancy are not fully known, though some report an increased risk of miscarriage. For this reason, embolization is only recommended for those who do not wish to become pregnant in the future.

The procedure is usually safe but can lead to complications in some cases. If the blocking solution drifts to the ovarian artery, it can cause problems with ovarian function. Some research tells us that while the treatment is generally successful, as many as one-third of patients will find that their leiomyomas reappear within five years.

Surgical therapy comes down to three options: endometrial ablation, myomectomy, and hysterectomy. The lining of the uterus the endometrium is destroyed with endometrial ablation. This is used to remove small leiomyomas within the uterus.

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