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Women’s Issues – How to handle Uterine Fibroids?

What are Uterine fibroids?

• Uterine fibroids are noncancerous (benign) tumors that develop in the womb (uterus), a female reproductive organ.
• Uterine fibroids are common.
• As many as 1 in 5 women may have fibroids during their childbearing years.
• The time after starting menstruation for the first time and before menopause.
• Half of all women have fibroids by age 50.
• Fibroids are rare in women under age 20.
• They are more common in African-Americans than Caucasians.
• The cause of uterine fibroids is unknown.
• Their growth has been linked to the hormone estrogen.
• As long as a woman with fibroids is menstruating, a fibroid will probably continue to grow, usually slowly.
• Fibroids can be so tiny that you need a microscope to see them.
• They can grow very large.
• They may fill the entire uterus.
• They may weigh several pounds.
• Although it is possible for just one fibroid to develop, usually there is more than one.

Fibroids are often described by their location in the uterus:
• Myometrial — in the muscle wall of the uterus.
• Submucosal — just under the surface of the uterine lining.
• Subserosal — just under the outside covering of the uterus.
• Pendunculated — occurring on a long stalk on the outside of the uterus or inside the cavity of the uterus.

Symptoms for Fibroids

• Bleeding between periods
• Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), sometimes with the passage of blood clots.
• Menstrual periods that may last longer than normal.
• Need to urinate more often.
• Pelvic cramping or pain with periods.
• Sensation of fullness or pressure in lower abdomen.
• Pain during intercourse

Signs and tests for Fibroids

• The health care provider will perform a pelvic exam.
• This may show that you have a change in the shape of your womb (uterus).
• It can be difficult to diagnose fibroids, if you are extremely overweight.
• An ultrasound may be done to confirm the diagnosis of fibroids.
• Sometimes, a pelvic MRI is done.
• An endometrial biopsy (biopsy of the uterine lining).
• Laparoscopy may be needed to rule out cancer.

Treatment for Fibroids

Treatment depends on several things, including:
• Your age
• General health
• Severity of symptoms
• Type of fibroids
• Whether you are pregnant
• If you want children in the future

Treatment for the symptoms of fibroids may include:
• Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) to help control heavy periods.
• Intrauterine devices (IUDs) that release the hormone progestin to help reduce heavy bleeding and pain.
• Iron supplements to prevent or treat anemia due to heavy periods.
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naprosyn for cramps or pain.
• Short-term hormonal therapy injections to help shrink the fibroids.

Surgery and procedures used to treat fibroids include:
• Hysteroscopic resection of fibroids.
• Uterine artery embolization.
• Myomectomy.
• Hysterectomy.

Complications of Fibroids

• Severe pain or excessively heavy bleeding.
• Twisting of the fibroid, which causes a blockage in nearby blood vessels feeding the tumor.
• Anemia (low red blood cell count) if the bleeding is very heavy.
• Urinary tract infections, if pressure from the fibroid prevents the bladder from fully emptying.
• Cancerous changes.

Healing Fibroids Sex, Lies, and the Truth about Uterine Fibroids Uterine Fibroids

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