Causes and Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids affect many women during their childbearing years. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths on the uterus. Many women go through their entire lives without knowing they have uterine fibroids, while others experience symptoms that are uncomfortable or symptoms that can affect their quality of life.

Uterine fibroids grow from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus. Some fibroids grow very slowly while others rapidly and go through spurts of doubling in size. Many fibroids that are found during pregnancy shrink or disappear after childbirth. Hormones are though to be one of the main causes of uterine fibroids. Estrogen and progesterone appear to promote the growth of the fibroids. Both of these hormones stimulate development of the uterine lining during each mental cycle as well as during pregnancy. Because of this hormone correlation, fibroids tend to shrink after menopause when hormone production decreases.

For women who have symptoms related to uterine fibroids, the most common are: heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged menstrual periods, pelvic pain, frequent urination, constipation, and back/leg pain. The size, number, and location of the fibroids can influence the symptoms.

If you have pelvic pain that does not go away, overly heavy or painful periods, or pain consistently with intercourse it is time to see your doctor. There are medications, noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures that can be done to alleviate symptoms caused by uterine fibroids. Since fibroids are not cancerous, many women find that waiting them out is the best treatment. Uterine fibroids rarely interfere with pregnancy, and therefore, for most women are not a huge cause for concern.

Posted on behalf of Carlos Alarcon, M.D., Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.


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