Uterine fibroids are a common and global concern amongst women of reproductive age. Fibroids are tough balls of muscle that form in the uterus. Simply put, they are abnormal growths in the muscle of the uterus.
Fibroids often cause no signs or symptoms at all. However, when they do cause signs and symptoms, they are:
Irregular bleeding (spotting or heavy periods)
Pain, pressure, or a feeling of “fullness” (bloating) in the belly
Difficulty getting pregnant
The specific causes of fibroids are unknown. Evidence based clinical research strongly suggest it is due to hormonal factors. Fibroids occur during the reproductive years and tend to regress after menopause, signifying that estrogen and progesterone play prominent roles in promoting growth1.Studies have found that there are higher concentrations of estrogen in the tissues of fibroids.
Race does also impact your risk of fibroids. Black women are more likely to have fibroids than women of other racial groups. In addition, black women have fibroids at younger ages, and they're also likely to have more or larger fibroids2.
How is it diagnosed:
Often found during a routine pelvic examination
There are several treatment options that depend on your age and severity of symptoms:
Medications (birth control)
Surgery (myomectomy) to remove the fibroids
Endometrial Ablation (destroys the lining of the uterus)
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids)
Do not ignore any abnormalities. When things are not right- you know it! Early signs are always crucial for the best outcomes.
Always talk to your provider.
You are your best advocate. There is nothing wrong with asking all the questions until you fully understand. Even get a second and third opinion if you must.
1. Wise, L. A., & Laughlin-Tommaso, S. K. (2016). Epidemiology of Uterine Fibroids. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 59(1), 2-24. doi:10.1097/grf.0000000000000164