Fibroid tumors affect as many as 50% of women. Some fibroid patients show no symptoms at all. These benign tumors frequently develop within the female reproductive system. While their cause is generally unknown, they often create painful and abnormally long menstrual cycles.
Uterine fibroids most commonly affect women 40 to 50 years old. These benign tumors grow within the muscular wall of the uterus, and depending on size, have the ability to disrupt the abdominal space with their dense, fibrous tissue. Here are some important facts on Uterine Fibroids:
1. Fibroids are Non-Cancerous
Uterine Fibroids are merely extra tissue that grows in your uterus. They are not capable of spreading to other systems or invading other tissue. Although fibroids can cause some debilitating symptoms, they are rarely as life threatening or serious to treat as cancer.
2. Heavy menstrual bleeding is the Most Common Symptom
There are several theories to explain how fibroids contribute to heavy bleeding. One explanation suggests that submucosal fibroids (located within the uterine cavity) enlarges the surface area of the endometrium (uterine lining), which may be a cause of heavy menstrual bleeding. One another theory suggests that fibroids contribute to disorders in hormone production. Which are also involved in the contraction and relaxation of the smooth muscles in the uterus.
3. Fibroids are Very Common
As per the research 70 to 80% of women develop fibroids by the age of 50. Women are most likely to develop fibroids by the age of 40 and 50.
4. No Treatment Required in case of No Symptoms
Fibroids only require treatment if they are causing you symptoms, and most women with fibroids are symptom free. “If a woman with fibroids has no related symptoms, it may be unnecessary to recommend treatment beyond clinical observation over time. As long as the small risk of hidden sarcoma is discussed,” says Antonio Pizarro, M.D., board-certified doctor in obstetrics and gynecology, female pelvic medicine, and reconstructive surgery.
5. You Can Still Get Pregnant—but May Have Difficulties
Most women with fibroids have issue free pregnancies, but they can cause some complications. Some research suggests that certain types of uterine fibroids can change the size and shape of the uterus, which can impact a woman’s ability to get pregnant, though experts estimate fibroids cause only one to two percent of infertility cases. Fibroids are also linked to a greater risk of needing to deliver via cesarean section and a risk of heavier bleeding after delivery.
6. Availability of Multiple Treatment Options
There are a number of medical therapies which are used to shrink or slow the growth of fibroids. This includes hormone treatments, ultrasound therapy, or a myomectomy, which removes the fibroids while leaving the uterus intact. If the fibroids don’t require removal, there are other treatments that can help you deal with symptoms such as ibuprofen, birth control pills, or ablation (a procedure using radiofrequency energy to destroy tissue).
7. Fibroids are the leading cause of Hysterectomies
One of the major cause for hysterectomy is fibroids, which involves removal of the uterus. Fibroids are responsible for 50% of the total 600,000 hysterectomies performed each year in US. While a hysterectomy will certainly cure a fibroid problem, many women don’t want to lose their uterus.
8. Root Cause of Fibroids is Still Unknown
“The precise cause of the mutations that cause fibroids is unsettled, despite their very high prevalence and clinical impact,” says Dr. Pizarro. Current research leans towards the impact of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, since tumors rarely appear before a women’s first period and decrease after menopause. Stress, diet, and environmental factors may also play a role in fibroid development.
9. African American Women are more prone to Fibroids
The probability of an African American women to develop fibroids is 3 times then other races. By the age of 40, 20-40% of African American women will have fibroids as per the research. Estimates show that fibroids will bring on various complications in 50% of the black women by the age of 50, compared to 30% of white women.