Uterine fibroids are also simply called as fibroids, they are also known as uterine leiomyomas. They are benign tumours, which means these growths do not spread to other parts of the body and are restricted to the uterus. There are rarely occuring metastatic fibroids or extra uterine (outside the uterus) fibroids which originate within the uterus. However these metastatic fibroids, which are also hormone dependent, are becoming common now. They also need to be given special care as they cause life threatening complications. There are different types of fibroids like sub serosal fibroids, sub mucosal fibroids, intramural fibroids and cervical fibroids depending on the location of the fibroids in the uterus. There are slight variations in symptoms depending on the location.
Warning Signs Of Fibroids
The fibroids within the uterus are hormone dependent. The exact cause of these fibroids are not clear. But there is a clear genetic trait, as fibroids run in families.
1. Abnormal Bleeding From The Uterus
This is the most important and most common warning sign of fibroids. The abnormal bleeding can be found in different ways. The regular menstrual bleeding can be very heavy and very crampy and painful. There can be heavy bleeding besides the regular monthly cycles. Or even the monthly bleeding can be prolonged, some may even last for a month. These bleeding leave a women exhausted. The most common danger of this bleeding is iron deficiency anaemia. Anaemia in fibroids is due to two causes. The heavy bleeding by itself can cause anaemia. The bleeding also depletes the iron stores and the bone marrow responds slowly in replenishing it.
2. Abdominal Discomfort
Discomfort and pains in the abdomen are associated with fibroids. There maybe a vague feeling of heaviness and distension in the abdomen. There maybe a sensation of bloating. Pelvic pain and pressure itself is associated with growing fibroids. Sometimes an acute severe pain may occur. This maybe a sign showing that a fibroid is twisted or the fibroid is degenerating. There can also be painful intercourse in fibroids.
Backache is again a warning sign of fibroid. These backaches may even cause discomfort while lying down, bending etc. Usually backaches are associated with large fibroids. It may be experienced as a dull, aching pain. Occasionally, the fibroids may press on the spinal nerves causing severe backache.
4. Pressure Symptoms
The uterus is located between the rectum and the urinary bladder. Thus a growing fibroid can press on these organs and cause pressure symptoms respective to each. While pressing on the rectum, it can cause either constipation or pain while passing the stools. While pressing on the urinary bladder, the fibroids can cause increased frequency of urination, painful urination or even retention of urine. There is an increased chance of getting urinary tract infections with fibroids.
Infertility is another warning sign of fibroids. Infertility is the inability to concieve a child even with normal sexual intercourse. Fibroids cause infertility due to three different causes. The fibroids distort the anatomy of the cavity of the uterus. The fibroids would obstruct the passage of sperm to the fallopian tube. The fibroids could also obstruct the passage of the fertilised egg from the fallopian tube to the cavity of the uterus.
These are the top five warning signs of fibroids. If you experience any of these, please consult your doctor. There are several imaging techniques to identify the fibroids like ultrasonogram , MRI. Etc. A large fibroid can be palpated by the doctor during a pelvic examination. There are several treatment options, surgeries etc for uterine fibroids. Hysterectomy is also a treatment option for recurring fibroids, in those who do not wish to have anymore children. But for those who wish to have children, myomectomy is the preferred treatment option.