Otherwise known as myoma of the uterus, fibroids are the most common growth of the female genital tract. They are round, firm, benign (noncancerous) lumps of the uterine wall itself or in the uterine and abdominal cavities, composed of smooth muscle and connective tissue, rarely are they solitary. Often as small as a hen's egg, they gradually grow to the size and the size of the fibroid is likened to the size of the uterus at various stages of pregnancy. Thus a woman will be told that she has a fourteen week size fibroid if her uterus is as big as it would be if she were fourteen weeks pregnant. Fibroids are often the cause of heavier periods, irregular bleeding, and/or painful periods. After menopause, they usually reduce in size and wither away. Fibroids are present in 20 to 50 percent of all women.
UTERINE FIBROID DIAGRAM
- Seedling fibroid
- Subserosal fibroid
- Pedunculated fibroid
- Intracavity pedunculated fibroid
- Submucosal fibroid
- Cervical fibroid
Fibroids are also one of the most common reasons that women in their thirties and forties have hysterectomies. Occasionally the fibroid can be removed leaving the uterus intact, however this is the exception to the rule.
Most women do not have symptoms from their fibroids. These uterine growths usually come to a woman's attention on routine pelvic examination. Whether a fibroid is symptomatic has to do with its size and location within the uterus. Those that are located in the muscle wall of the uterus just under surface (subserosal) may not be symptomatic. But those growing into the uterine lining itself (submucosal) often cause heavy or irregular bleeding. Some fibroids are attached to the inside or even the outside of the uterus by a thin stalk, these are known as pedunculated fibroids. If they are on the outside of the uterus, they are sometimes confused with ovarian tumours. They can also grow through the cervical opening, this a perdunculated fibroid.
Women that have both fibroids and endometriosis my experience menstrual cramps, pelvic pain, heavy bloodloss or all three.
Some women with fibroids have extremely heavy periods, resulting in anaemia, fatigue, and even an inability to leave the house during the heaviest days. If fibroids are growing quickly, if a woman's hormones are in a flux (which is common around the time of peri-menopause and menopause), or she's been under a great deal of stress, she can develop haemorrhaging from uterine fibroids. Some women grow so accustomed to their large monthly bloodloss that they do not even realise how a normal flow would feel.
At times the position of the fibroid causes symptoms as it pushes into other organs, such as the rectum or bladder, hence pressure or a sense of fullness in the rectum, lower back or abdomen may result. If the fibroid is in the front of the uterus and relatively low, the pressure on the bladder can decrease the bladder's ability to hold urine, resulting in urinary frequency (having to pass urine in small amounts). These symptoms are annoying but are not harmful.
Natural Progesterone offers a better alternative. Fibroid tumours, are a product of Oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen stimulates their growth, and lack of Oestrogen causes them to atrophy.Link to Oestrogen Dominance words in this document to the appropriate page.
Many women in their mid-thirties begin to have anovulatory (nonovulating) cycles. As they approach the decade before menopause, they are producing considerably less Progesterone than previously, however, they continue to produce normal (or more) Oestrogen, hence the signs and symptoms of Oestrogen dominance relative to Progesterone deficiency.
Fibroids often shrink dramatically once a woman reaches menopause. (usually between fifty and fifty two) Women with fibroids frequently experience symptoms only when they are in the mid to late forties, the age when hysterectomies are mostly preformed. Surgery is not the preferred way of dealing with fibroids and the woman may prefer to use dietary changes, therapeutic natural hormone therapy and stress reduction.
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