Uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyomas or simply fibroids, are non-cancerous growths that develop in the muscle tissue of the uterus. They are very common, with up to 80% of women developing them by age 50.
While fibroids themselves are not cancerous, they can cause a range of symptoms, including heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, frequent urination, constipation, and back pain. In some cases, they may also lead to infertility or complications during pregnancy.
The exact cause of uterine fibroids is not well understood, but it is thought that genetic factors and hormones such as estrogen and progesterone play a role in their development. Other risk factors include being African American, being overweight or obese, and having a family history of fibroids.
Diagnosis of uterine fibroids typically involves a physical exam, imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI, and sometimes a biopsy to confirm that the growths are non-cancerous. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of symptoms and may include medication to control bleeding and pain, surgery to remove the fibroids, or uterine artery embolization, a procedure that blocks blood flow to the fibroids to shrink them.
In some cases, fibroids may not require treatment at all if they are small and not causing symptoms. However, it’s important for women with fibroids to have regular check-ups with their healthcare provider to monitor their growth and symptoms, especially if they are planning to become pregnant in the future.
In summary, uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus and can cause a range of symptoms, including heavy bleeding and pelvic pain. While the exact cause is not well understood, treatment options are available to manage symptoms and prevent complications. Women with fibroids should have regular check-ups with their healthcare provider to monitor their condition.
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