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What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Updated on February 13, 2018

Reproductive Health is Important

Reproductive health always has been and always will be an incredibly important issue for women, we are taught from a young age that if something doesn't seem right then we should get it investigated. And sometimes, sadly, it is something very serious, but thankfully, sometimes it is not. But as a rule, we aren't taught any specific signs to look out for and the only thing we are really warned about is cancer, we aren't really told much beyond that as young girls.


But there is so much that can potentially be wrong in the whole reproductive area, and one of those things that could be causing you problems is a fibroid.

What is a Fibroid?

A fibroid is a lump of muscular and fibrous tissue that is located in, around or on the uterus. They are non cancerous (benign) tumors and they occur in women of reproductive age. They are not life threatening, but they can grow to a size or number (you can have several at once) that can cause serious problems for the woman concerned.


What are the Symptoms of Fibroids?

Some women don't show any symptoms of fibroids and they are not discovered until a routine pelvic exam, but some women show symptoms, and they will vary depending on the size, number and location of the fibroids. The symptoms include:

Pelvic pain

Increased urination

Decreased urination

Back pain

Thigh pain and difficulty walking

Lower abdominal pain

Heavier periods

Irregular periods

Increased menstrual stomach cramps

Increase in number of urinary infections

Longer periods

Constipation

1 in 3 women who have fibroids don't experience any symptoms, but if you do experience any of these symptoms then contact your doctor, fibroids is not something that you can diagnose or treat yourself.


Once you have visited your doctor, they will most likely send you for an ultrasound to confirm their diagnosis and probably refer you from there as if it is a large fibroid, it becomes a gynecological matter and will require specialist treatment.


The Treatments for Fibroids

There is no one singular treatment that will work for every fibroid, the treatment that you are offered will depend on your age, the fibroids location and size and the medical professionals that you speak to. And be warned, there could be complications, it isn't a straightforward diagnosis and treatment, I have been having my 12 lb (5.5 kg) fibroid poked and prodded for 6 months and am still no further forward.


Pills

There is a medicine that you can take to shrink fibroids, it is apparently very strong and very expensive, which is why it is only offered for a maximum of I think four months. After that, even if the fibroids are still there, you can't have any more of the medication.

But it is said to be very effective, so if it is offered to you, take it.


Myomectomy

This is what the gynecologist referred to as a "fertility saving procedure" meaning that, if you still want to have children, they may offer you this in place of a hysterectomy, but only if it is suitable with the type of fibroids that you have.


Embolization

This is generally used for a large fibroid, the surgeon will go in through your groin arteries in your legs and cutting off the blood supply to the fibroid and killing it. This is minimally invasive, but it does require a stay in hospital.


Hysterectomy

This is usually offered as a last resort when no other options are available, the doctors are reluctant to perform hysterectomies unless they have to because they don't want to totally remove people's chances of getting pregnant. Plus it is also an invasive and expensive procedure.


Waiting

Some doctors will advise that you wait until the menopause and do nothing about your fibroids.

Fibroids are strongly linked to hormones and will shrink during the menopause, this will depend on your age and your doctor, but if you are not happy with having to wait, ask for a second opinion.

I asked for another opinion because my doctor told me to wait until the menopause, I am 33 and my mother went through the menopause at 55, so he wanted me to wait 22 years with a 12 lb fibroid and several smaller ones.

Fibroids are Common but They Can't be Cured Naturally

Fibroids are incredibly common, in fact, 80% of women have them, and there are factors that make you more prone to them such as race and family history of fibroids. Having children will lower your chances of developing them, but not eliminate them altogether.

If you think you have fibroids, speak to your doctor, don't attempt to deal with them yourself as they could grow to a large size and don't be fooled into thinking they can be cured naturally. Don't waste your money on scam "cures" always get medical advice.

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    • Claire-louise profile image
      Author

      Claire Raymond 2 months ago from UK

      I definitely will GlenR, and I won't deal with my male G.P who told me "it can't be that painful"

    • Claire-louise profile image
      Author

      Claire Raymond 2 months ago from UK

      Thanks Louise :)

    • Glenis Rix profile image

      GlenR 2 months ago from UK

      I would push for removal if I was in your shoes, Claire. It seems that persistence and assertiveness are needed when dealing with the NHS nowadays.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 2 months ago from Norfolk, England

      This was really interesting to read, I didn't really know much about fibroids, so learned a lot reading your article. Thankyou. =)

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