Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, Dr. BCW; today, I want to shed light on a significant health issue that can affect women of all ages: uterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the uterus. These growths are also known as leiomyomas or myomas. Uterine fibroids can vary in size, ranging from tiny, undetectable nodules to large masses that can distort the shape of the uterus.
The presence and severity of symptoms can vary among women with uterine fibroids. Some may experience no symptoms at all, while others may have one or more of the following:
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Lower back pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Pain during intercourse
- Abdominal bloating or swelling
Causes and Risk Factors:
We do not fully understand the exact cause of uterine fibroids. Hormonal factors, particularly estrogen, and progesterone, play a role in their growth. Furthermore it is also believed that genetics also plays role. Some risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing fibroids include:
- Family history: If your mother, sister, or grandmother had fibroids, your risk may be higher.
- Hormonal changes: Hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which regulate the menstrual cycle, can promote the growth of fibroids.
- Ethnicity: Uterine fibroids are more common in African American women than in women of other ethnicities. African Americans are 3 times more likely to develop uterine fibroids than white women.
- Age: Fibroids can occur at almost any age but are most commonly found in the 30’s and 40’s.
Treatment for uterine fibroids depends on factors such as the severity of symptoms, the size, and location of the growths, and whether a woman plans to have children. Options may include:
- Watchful waiting: A healthcare provider may recommend monitoring without intervention if fibroids are small and not causing significant symptoms.
- Medications: Hormonal birth control and other medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms or shrink the fibroids.
- Non-invasive procedures: MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery (FUS) and uterine artery embolization (UAE) can target and shrink fibroids without surgery.
- Surgical interventions: In more severe cases or when fertility is not a concern, surgical procedures like myomectomy (removal of fibroids) or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be recommended.
Uterine fibroids are a common condition affecting women. While they are usually non-cancerous, they can cause discomfort and impact a woman’s quality of life. If you suspect you may have uterine fibroids or are experiencing symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Early detection and timely management can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being.
Stay informed and prioritize your health!
– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)
Check out my Beyond Clinical Walls video on this subject: