Uterine fibroid tumors or leiomyomas are among the most common tumors among women. In fact, it is apparent in 25-50% of women, says American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Uterine fibroid tumors are typically non-cancerous; however, there is still the need to be aware of these tumors and some dangers it may bring to your health.
To give you better understanding of these tumors, here are answers to frequently asked questions on uterine fibroid tumors:
What are uterine fibroid tumors?
Uterine fibroid tumors, medically known as uterine leiomyomata or simply myoma, are growths consisting of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissues usually found within the wall of the uterus. Some grow below the lining of the uterus; some grow between the muscles of the uterus, while some grow towards the exterior part of the uterus. Uterine fibroid tumors may grow in clusters or as a single nodule and may vary in size.
What are the causes of uterine fibroid tumors?
Scientific researches have not yet finally identified the causes of uterine fibroid tumors. It has been theorized though that uterine fibroid tumors result from hormonal, genetic and environmental factors, which may be present in combinations in every case.
Are uterine fibroid tumors cancerous?
Though considered as tumors, uterine fibroid tumors are mostly benign, which means that in most instances, they are not as dangerous as cancerous tumors. Cases of uterine fibroid tumors turning into cancer is very rare, however, it is possible. Although having uterine fibroid tumors is generally not dangerous (it also has nothing to do with cancer of the uterus), it is uneasy to live with; hence, women opt to have their uterine fibroid tumors removed.
Who gets uterine fibroid tumors?
In most instances, uterine fibroid tumors develop in women of childbearing age, usually those in the 30s and 40s. However, researches show that women who have previously given birth are less likely to develop uterine fibroid tumors. In addition, it has been found out that overweight women and young African women are more prone to developing uterine fibroid tumors. The reasons for these are not yet known, however, these facts have been prevalently observed.
What are the symptoms indicating presence of uterine fibroid tumors?
In many instances, uterine fibroid tumors do not cause symptoms, but some women having these benign tumors say they experience pain and heavy bleeding during menstrual periods while some experience bleeding in between their menstrual period. She also urinates more often (due to the pressure of the fibroids to the bladder) and feels full in the lower part of the abdomen.
Some women also experience pain in the lower back and pain during intercourse. Other signs of uterine fibroid tumors include miscarriage, complications during pregnancy and infertility.
How are uterine fibroid tumors detected?
Uterine fibroid tumors are detected through pelvic examination. This lets your doctor check your vagina, ovaries and uterus. Imaging tests such as ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), x-rays, and CT scan can also help the doctor detect presence of uterine fibroid tumors in your uterus.
Is treatment necessary?
Treatment of the uterine fibroid tumors is not necessary however since symptoms can be severe on some women, they prefer to have their fibroids treated. The main treatment for uterine fibroid tumors is uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). This is a modestly invasive procedure wherein a small tube is inserted into an artery towards the uterine artery. This allows the interventional radiologist to bring in small plastic beads into the artery supplying blood to the uterine fibroid tumors. In this way, blood flow to the uterine fibroid tumor is blocked causing it to shrink; hence, symptoms are relieved.