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  • One of the most common conditions affecting the middle-aged women is Uterine Fibroids. These are medically termed as leiomyomas, nothing but, the benign growths that may develop in the muscle of the uterus. The average size of a fibroid may range from less than an inch mass to a melon sized mass. You may have one fibroid or many fibroids of different sizes.

  • Uterine fibroids may drastically affect any women’s quality of life. A very large-sized fibroid expands the uterus to a size of 18 weeks pregnancy. In addition to this, the fibroids compress the bowel or the bladder leading to constipation or frequent urination.

  • What could be the cause?

    The exact cause of uterine fibroids is still unclear. But following factors are believed to cause uterine fibroids.

    Genetic mutations: In most of the cases, fibroids may occur as a result of genetic alterations in the healthy uterine muscle cells.
    Hormonal changes: The hormones, estrogen and progesterone, causes the regeneration of uterine lining during each menstrual cycle. These hormones stimulate the growth of the fibroids in the uterus.
    Other causes: The factors that help to maintain normal body mechanisms, such as insulin-like growth factor may also cause uterine fibroids.
    Abnormal hormone levels:Due to an increase in the levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy, most of the pregnant women develop fibroids in the uterus which may shrink off after the pregnancy.
  • What are the symptoms?

    Mostly,uterine fibroids do not cause any symptoms. The symptoms may occur depending on the location, size, and number fibroids. Here are some symptoms of uterine fibroids:

    Heavy menstrual bleeding
    Increased urination
    Menstruation lasting more than a week
    Difficulty emptying the bladder
    Constipation
    Swelling of the abdomen
    Increased menstrual cramping
    Backache or leg pains
  • What could be the risk factors?

    The factors that enhance the risk of developing uterine fibroids include the following:

    Being a woman of reproductive age
    Family history of uterine fibroids
    Onset of menstruation at an early age
    Diet high in red meat and lower in green leafy vegetables
    Vitamin D deficiency
    Consumption of alcohol
    Being obese
    Use of birth control pills
  • Are there any complications?

    Uterine fibroids may not lead to life-threatening complications; however, it may cause discomfort. The presence of fibroids in the uterus may cause heavy blood loss during menstruation, and this may lead to iron deficiency anemia. In pregnant women, uterine fibroids may increase the risk of placental abruption, preterm delivery, and inadequate development of the fetus.Uterine fibroids may not lead to life-threatening complications; however, it may cause discomfort. The presence of fibroids in the uterus may cause heavy blood loss during menstruation, and this may lead to iron deficiency anemia. In pregnant women, uterine fibroids may increase the risk of placental abruption, preterm delivery, and inadequate development of the fetus.

  • What is the diagnosis?

    In most of the cases, uterine fibroid remains unnoticed and discovered incidentally during a routine check-up. If your doctor suspects uterine fibroids, any of the following tests might be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.

    Ultrasound of the pelvis
    Imaging tests
    Blood tests
  • What are the available treatment options?

    The treatment for uterine fibroids depends on your age, the size of the fibroid, and extent or severity of the condition. Your doctor might order a combination of following treatments.

    Drugs: The medications are used to relieve the symptoms such as discomfort, pelvic pain, and massive blood loss (menstrual cycle). Your doctor might prescribe the drugs that shrink the fibroids. The drugs include the following:

    Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists- that helps block the production of estrogen and progesterone.
    Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) that relieves heavy blood loss due to menstruation.
    Other anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and vitamin supplements.
  • Minimally invasive procedures:

    Uterine artery embolization: The procedure involves injection of certain medications that stop the blood flow to the fibroids allowing them to shrink.
    Myolysis: The procedure is performed using laparoscope. During the procedure, high-energy electric currents are passed to damage the fibroids.
    Laparoscopic myomectomy: The procedure involves excision of fibroids using a laparoscope. During the procedure, the fibroids are broken into small pieces and are then removed.
    Other procedures include hysteroscopic myomectomy and endometrial ablation