What are fibroids?
Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that develop in the uterus, made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue.
Fibroids can develop at different rates and can range from the size of a pea to the size of a grapefruit or larger! In some cases, women can have more than one fibroid at a time. Symptoms can include heavy menstrual cycles, bleeding between your cycle, fatigue, anemia, anxiety/depression (due to hormone changes), and pelvic pain.
Types of fibroids
Fibroids can be very different for each woman. Treatment options vary depending on the size, quantity, and type of fibroids. There are three main types of fibroids...
Intramural fibroids This is the most common fibroid to develop. These types grow within the muscular wall of the uterus.
Subserosal fibroids These fibroids form on the outside of the uterus.
Submucosal fibroids This type of fibroid is the most uncommon. These kinds grow in the middle muscle layer of the uterus.
Pedunculated fibroids These fibroids attach themselves to the uterine wall with a stalk-like growth called a peduncle.
What causes fibroids?
Professionals are still searching for a cause, but studies suggest it may be genetics. However, there are some factors that may put someone at risk of developing fibroids. These factors include:
Hormones- Fibroids contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine muscle cells. So during your menstrual cycle, when your body starts to use estrogen and progesterone to stimulate the development of the uterine lining, it can cause fibroids to grow. Taking hormonal birth control can also increase the risk of growing fibroids.
Age- Women between the ages of 30-40 have a much higher risk of developing fibroids. After menopause, fibroids can form but usually end up shrinking due to the decline of hormone production.
Family history- If having fibroids runs in your family, this may increase your risk.
Ethnic origin- African-American women are more likely to develop this condition compared to other ethnic backgrounds.
Obesity- Women who are overweight increase their risk up to two to three times than someone who is average weight.
What are the symptoms?
Sometimes women will experience no symptoms at all. However, when fibroids are large or numerous it can cause symptoms such as:
Heavy or prolonged periods
Bleeding between periods
Pelvic pain and pressure
Low back pain
Pain during intercourse
Difficulty getting pregnant
How are fibroids diagnosed?
Fibroids are most commonly found during a physical or prenatal exam. Your provider may feel a firm, irregular lump during an abdominal or pelvic exam. From there, performing ultrasound or MRI can confirm the diagnosis. If you are experiencing any intense symptoms like the ones listed above be sure to consult with your doctor.
Treatment options vary depending on the size, quantity, type, and your health history. There are two different routes of treatment to go in; surgery or no surgery. Surgery to remove the fibroids is called myomectomy and sometimes can result in a hysterectomy, or the removal of the uterus. You can also choose to do natural herbal therapy to help balance hormones and reduce fibroids.
While treatment options can either minimize or remove the fibroid there is always a big chance for them to grow back because they are controlled by hormones that occur naturally in the body.
The best way to reduce the risk of reoccurrence and long term complications is by partnering with a hormone specialist. This is what we do here at The Lifestyle Clinic!
Through extensive lab analysis of bloodwork, we can determine where your hormone levels are and create a wellness plan just for you. This plan is designed to help you create a healthy lifestyle that supports your overall wellness and being symptom-free. We have an amazing Hormone Reboot program that is designed to help balance hormones naturally. Click here for more information!