What are Uterine Fibroids?
It is a noncancerous tumour that grow on or in the muscle of the uterus. They are the most common growths of the uterus and female pelvic organs. One study found that approximately 50% of women have them. Most often they are benign . But women of African descent women are three times more likely to have fibroids and the tumours can set in even earlier in life. They can be multiple or exist as a single large growth. They can be located on the surface of the uterus, in the wall of the uterus, or in the uterine cavity.
Here are some of the symptoms
Abnormal menstrual cycle with symptoms such as abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding, abnormally heavy menstrual periods that come more frequent than your normal cycle. (less than every 28-30 days).
Painful menstrual periods.
Bloating: Uterine fibroids can cause you to always feel “full” in your lower abdomen. This is often referred to as pelvic pressure or pelvic pain. This occurs when fibroids grow and put pressure on the organs surrounding the uterus. The severity of the pelvic pressure depends on the location of the fibroids.
Pressure on the bladder which can cause frequent urination.
Pain during or after sexual intercourse
Pain in the back of the legs
Complications of fibroids
The most common complication is heavy bleeding which can lead to Anaemia. Anaemia is a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin. Some of the symptoms of Anaemia such fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath occur because organs aren't getting what they need to function properly.
Infrequently, fibroids may be a cause of infertility and/or pregnancy loss. Some fibroids in certain areas can make conception difficult or lead to miscarriage..
Fibroids may press against, or block the entrance to, the fallopian tubes, thus preventing the egg from reaching the uterus.
Submucous fibroids that grow inwards into the womb are thought to cause recurrent miscarriage . These fibroids can distort the uterus, and interfere with embryo implantation, whether by natural conception or IVF. This could be caused by reduced blood flow, making the lining of the uterus unfriendly to a fertilised egg.
Fibroid and Pregnancy
As stated earlier Most fibroids do not get in the way of a pregnancy. Some grow larger during pregnancy, due in part to pregnancy hormones and for reasons that are not well understood, a fibroid may also get smaller during pregnancy.
For the 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women with fibroids who do end up having complications, the most common is abdominal pain, which occasionally may be accompanied by light vaginal bleeding. The baby is rarely affected unless the bleeding is substantial.
Even if you do experience symptoms, they most likely won't affect the baby. However, your risk of miscarriage and premature delivery does increase slightly if you have fibroids. They occasionally cause the baby to be in an abnormal position for delivery.
They can also stall labour, or, if they're located in or near the cervical opening, they may block the baby's passage. All of these (rather rare) problems can increase the likelihood of caesarean delivery.
Prevention and factors
There are no known ways to prevent uterine fibroid. But there are some factors that may be reasons that black women are at a higher risk.
Family history; If a woman’s mother has had fibroid; the daughter is about three times more likely to have them herself.
Overweight women are more likely to develop fibroids, and for very heavy women, the risk can be two or three times
Diet. An Italian study found that women who eat little meat but a lot of green vegetables and fruit seem to be less likely to develop fibroids.
Studies also link the use of relaxers to Uterine fibroid
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms and they are preventing you from accomplishing your everyday activities, you should definitely speak to your Gynaecologist. (Frauenarzt). You can ask them to specifically check for this.
The word for uterine fibroids in German is Uterusmyom.
You can be diagnosed through a simple ultrasound scan. They may also refer you for a hysteroscopy. This is a procedure that allows a doctor to check the inside of your uterus through a viewing tube, inserted via your vagina.
In part two we will talk about the treatment options available to you.