Uterine fibroids are extremely common noncancerous tumors of the uterus present in at least 25% of premenopausal women. Fibroids may cause heavy bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure, problems with bowel or bladder function, infertility, or poor pregnancy outcomes. These health problems can have a significant impact on a woman’s life taking a social, emotional, and economic toll
As many as 35 percent of women in their reproductive years experience heavy menstrual bleeding, or menorrhagia. For some, this may be a sign of uterine fibroids, or myomas or leiyomyomas, which are noncancerous growths that develop in or around the uterus.
For some, uterine fibroids cause no symptoms at all. For others, they can contribute to a host of uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Longer, more frequent periods
Bleeding between periods
Anemia due to blood loss
Abdominal pain and cramping
Bladder and bowel pressure
Difficult, frequent, or urgent urination or bowel movements
Increased abdominal size
To determine if your symptoms are due to uterine fibroids, your doctor will likely perform a pelvic exam to check for irregularities in the size or shape of your uterus, which may indicate the presence of fibroids. Other tests, such as an ultrasound or pelvic MRI, may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.
Details about some of the signs
Heavy periods often accompany fibroids, especially the ones that grow inside your uterus. Of course, heavy periods can be a sign of other changes in your body, or just your cycle’s natural progression as you age, but if your flow is heavy enough to change your daily activity, it’s worth discussing with your doctor, even if you don’t have fibroids!
Fibroids can press on our bladder, especially when they grow outside your uterus. As they get larger, your need to pee will become more frequent and urgent.
Pain during sex:
When fibroids are located on or near your cervix, they can cause you to experience pain or bleeding during sex. Fibroids in the uterus can also make the additional pressure of sex feel painful. This discomfort may happen during or immediately after intercourse.
Just as fibroids put pressure on your bladder, they can also stress out your rectum. As fibroids press on your rectum, it becomes more difficult to expel waste–that’s when constipation sets in. Typically only larger fibroids lead to constipation, so you should definitely address this symptom quickly.
Lower back pain:
If large fibroids grow near your spine, they can cause lower back pain. Also, due to their location, you may need an MRI to complete your diagnosis. When fibroids are causing back pain, shrinking or removing fibroids may be your only choice for relief.
Let's Discuss Treatments:
Be advised, you can’t cure fibroids on your own. But you can do things that help you feel better. When fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus, you may become aware of a mass on your abdomen. You can lie down and put a hot pack or hot water bottle on your lower belly to ease the pain. You’d need to do this several times a day.
You can take pain relievers, such as ibuprofen. But be sure to follow the instructions on the label so you don’t accidentally take too much. If you and your doctor decide you need to take something for your fibroids, you may want to consider these other options:
Hormone therapy. To help prevent more growth of the fibroid, your doctor may recommend that you stop taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. But in some cases, your doctor may prescribe birth control pills to help control the bleeding and anemia from fibroids, even though the hormones may cause fibroids to grow.
GnRH antagonists..GnRH is a hormone your body naturally makes. GnRH antagonists put your body in menopause as long as you take them by surpressing the estrogen which stimulate the growth of uterine fibroids.These drugs are expensive. You shouldn’t take them for more than 6 months because they can make you more likely to get osteoporosis, which makes your bones too frail. Your doctor may also prescribe a low dose of progestin, or a low dose combination estrogen/progestin pill, to make osteoporosis less likely.
GnRH agonists. Your doctor may prescribe one to shrink fibroids and reduce anemia. They carry the same precautions as GnRH antagonists. And as with GnRH antagonists, when you stop taking a GnRH agonist, your fibroids can grow back. Still another possible option is a medication which combines all three, an GnRH antagonist, estrogen and progesterone.
SERMs. SERMs are a type of medicine that works on your estrogen levels. (SERMs stands for selective estrogen receptor modulators.) They may be able to shrink fibroids without causing menopause symptoms. But researchers aren’t yet sure how well they work for this purpose.
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