What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine leiomyoma or fibroids are a common benign (noncancerous) tumor in women that develop from muscle cells and uterine tissue (NIH, n.d.). Most fibroids are small in size, but some can become very large. According to the Office on Women’s Health, about 20-80% of women develop fibroids by the time they reach age 50. Some women experience no symptoms from their fibroids while others develop excruciating pain. At this time the cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, but some researchers believe hormonal and genetic factors play a role in their development (OASH, 2021).
Symptoms and Risks
Most uterine fibroids are benign; the risk of developing a cancerous fibroid is less than 1 in 1,000 (OASH.) However, the risk for developing uterine fibroids increases for black women and overweight people.
Common uterine fibroid symptoms (NIH, n.d.)
- Feelings of fullness in the lower abdomen
- Heavy and/or painful periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Frequent urinations
- Pain during sex
- Lower back pain
- Reproductive problems (infertility, miscarriages, early labor, etc)
If the patient experiences no pain from their fibroids, treatment is usually not suggested. If the patient does experience pain, a healthcare provider may suggest birth control, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, and surgery (OASH).
Surgery for patient with fibroids and moderate to severe symptoms:
- Endometrial Ablation
- Uterine Fibroid Embolization
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-Written by Sabrina Park MPH