Uterine fibroids are growths that attach to the uterus. Many women get them, and fewer than one in one hundred fibroids become cancerous. Still, uterine fibroids can cause other difficulties, such as discomfort, heavy bleeding and fertility problems.
“Each fibroid apparently arises from a single cell that has escaped the usual controls over growth,” explained Dr. John F. Steege of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They can attach to both the inside and outside of the uterine wall, and they can be as small as a grape or as large as a grapefruit. Many fibroids do not cause symptoms and do not need treatment.
However, if left unchecked some fibroids can cause a number of adverse symptoms. They can interfere in pregnancy, even causing miscarriages or infertility. They can cause iron-deficiency anemia. If a fibroid grows particularly large, it can put pressure on other organs. Such fibroids may need to be surgically removed.
Here are some symptoms to watch out for:
- Abnormally heavy periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain or discomfort in the back or abdomen
- Difficulty going to the bathroom
The most problematic fibroids tend to grow beneath a mucous membrane and protrude into the uterine cavity. “[A protruding fibroid sometimes] causes pregnancy failure and/or loss of fertility because it makes the uterine cavity abnormal and decreases the chance of pregnancy,” explains Dr. Beth W. Rackow of the Yale University School of Medicine.
There are a variety of treatment options for uterine fibroids. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms or if you are trying to become pregnant.
The Segal Institute is offering a clinical research study on uterine fibroids. Qualified participants will receive all study-related tests and medical care at no cost. Contact us today and see if you qualify!