Uterine fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomas or fibromyomas, are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. These benign tumors can have a significant effect on the reproductive system, potentially causing pelvic pain and heavy menstrual bleeding. However, their impact is not limited to these symptoms alone—they can also adversely affect fertility. Recognizing and treating uterine fibroids is crucial for managing their effects on reproductive health.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids arise from the overgrowth of muscle cells in the uterus. They can range in size from as small as a pea to as large as a melon. Research suggests that as many as 80% of women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lives, although not all will experience symptoms.
Causes of Uterine Fibroids in Women
While the exact cause of uterine fibroids remains unknown, several factors have been associated with an increased risk. These factors include a family history of fibroids, early onset of menstruation, African-American heritage, obesity, and elevated estrogen levels. Although fibroids tend to enlarge over time, they often shrink after menopause due to decreased hormone levels.
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids in Women
The symptoms of fibroids can vary significantly among individuals. While some women may not experience any symptoms, others may have severe pelvic pain or heavy menstrual bleeding. Additional symptoms may include:
- Menstrual cycles that become progressively heavier and longer
- Anemia-related symptoms like fatigue and dizziness
- Sensations of fullness or heaviness in the pelvic area
- Lower back or leg pain
- Pelvic pressure, bloating, and abdominal enlargement
- Increased urinary frequency caused by fibroids pressing on the bladder
- Pain during intercourse
Furthermore, depending on their size and location within the uterus, fibroids can interfere with conception. They may obstruct the fallopian tubes, hindering the passage of eggs from the ovaries to the uterus, or impede the implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterine lining.
By understanding the nature of uterine fibroids, their symptoms, and their impact on fertility, individuals can make informed decisions about managing their reproductive health.
Uterine Fibroids: Size and Location Implications
When it comes to uterine fibroids, two crucial factors to consider are the size of the fibroid itself and its location within the uterus. Fibroids can typically be categorized into three locations: subserosal – found in the outer wall of the uterus; intramural – located within the muscular layers of the uterine wall; submucosal – positioned in the uterine cavity.
While fibroids can pose challenges to fertility, the impact depends on their size and location. Submucosal fibroids have been associated with difficulties in conceiving or complications during pregnancy. However, it is important to note that many women successfully conceive and deliver healthy babies despite having uterine fibroids.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to uterine fibroids or have been struggling to get pregnant, it is crucial to consult with your doctor. They will help determine if these non-cancerous growths may be contributing to your fertility issues.
Treatment options for uterine fibroids, especially for women desiring to conceive, should be carefully considered. Traditional treatments such as hysterectomy may not be optimal, as they are invasive and result in permanent infertility. However, there is a promising solution available called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE).
UFE works by blocking the blood supply to the fibroids, leading to their shrinkage and reduction in painful symptoms. This innovative and non-invasive outpatient procedure may even increase the chances of fertility for those struggling to conceive. With UFE, you can return home on the same day.
If troublesome fibroids are affecting your dreams of parenthood, consider UFE from MIVA Medical as a potential solution to help you achieve your goals.