Uterine fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus and are almost always benign or noncancerous. Fibroids range in size from a single tumor to small bulky masses. In some cases, uterine fibroids may go unnoticed as they do not cause any symptoms.
The exact cause of uterine fibroids is unknown. Some factors such as hormones, genetics and growth factors are thought to play a role.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of fibroids, when they occur,may include:
- Painful periods or prolonged heavy bleeding
- Frequent urination
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Difficulty emptying bladder
Fibroids are usually asymptomatic and are usually discovered at the time of pelvic examination. Diagnosis of uterine fibroids involves:
- Pelvic examination
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Lab tests that include CBC, x-rays, CT scans.
There are no known measures to prevent Uterine Fibroids; there are a number of changes to reduce the risk of uterine fibroids. Healthy lifestyle choices such as maintaining a healthy weight and eating fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing uterine fibroids.
Most fibroids do not require any treatment if the symptoms are not causing too many problems. Since there is no single best approach to treatment, the doctor determines the best course of action that involve:involving medicine for fibroids or fibroids surgery based on the type of fibroid and the symptoms.
- Medications commonly used for birth control can be prescribed for the treatment of uterine fibroids to regulate menstrual cycle.
- Medical procedures that are non-invasive and minimally invasive are used to treat uterine fibroids.
- Non invasive procedures are done without incision, preserving the uterus.
- Minimally invasive procedures can destroy the uterine fibroids without large incisions like a surgery. They include procedures like Endometrial Ablation and Uterine Artery Embolization.
- Surgical procedures to remove fibroids include myomectomy which is the surgical removal of fibroids and is a preferred option for those who plan on getting pregnant. Hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure that involves removal of the uterus and is a sure way to cure uterine fibroids.
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