Facing the Trauma of Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are tumours which grow from cells forming the muscle of the uterus. They are also called leiomyoma, myoma, fibromyoma, leiofibromyoma or fibroleiomyoma of the uterus and they can grow on the uterine wall and push out into the bladder, bowel or intestine or can grow within the uterine wall, or even project from the wall of the uterus on a narrow stalk into the uterine cavity. They can be as small as a pea and may go unnoticed but they can cause problems if they grow big.

Some of the symptoms of fibroids can be following:

• Cramps
They are considered to be foreign bodies by the uterus which needs to be expelled. The resulting pressure on the uterine fibroid can cause strong spasms i.e. sudden involuntary muscular contractions.

• Constipation and Pelvic Pain
Normal bowel movements can be hampered when the fibroids press on the colon, causing pain during digestion. They also compress other organs inducing pressure which can be experienced in the form of sharp pains.

• Heavy Menstruation and Vaginal Bleeding
There can be abnormal bleeding. Some women may experience bleeding after a long time of going through menopause which indicates fibroid development.

• Urinary Infections
Fibroids can cause urinary tract infections which may lead to frequent urination or difficulty in urination.

• Abdominal Swelling and Back Pain
A bulging belly that feels hard on touching is a common symptom. Many women with fibroids can appear to be pregnant due to the swelling. In some cases, women with fibroids experience pain in the back or legs.

Besides all these symptoms, they also disturb conception. When it blocks the fallopian tube, fertilization cannot take place. When it grows near the uterine lining, implantation of the fertilized egg can be disrupted, thus causing miscarriages and sometimes women with extremely large growth may not be able to conceive simply because of the size of the fibroid.

These are quite common among women and may a times. A woman is not aware that she is having them. In such cases, they do not cause any symptoms or problems, and they remain unnoticed. Their existence can be hereditary. Conception and intake of oral contraceptives both decrease the likelihood that they will develop. They have not been observed in girls who have not reached puberty and adolescent girls rarely develop them. Some other factors that have been associated with an increased risk of developing fibroids are having the first menstrual period (menarche) before the age of 10, consumption of alcohol (particularly beer), uterine infections and high blood pressure (hypertension).
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