Fibroids and the Detection of Uterine Fibroids

Approximately 30 to 40% of women suffer from uterine fibroids that are usually benign growths that are found on the uterine muscle. Fibroids and their treatment continue to be researched and one of the important factors known is that they mainly affect black women. Women of other races are also affected but to a lesser extent. This article discusses fibroids and the detection of uterine fibroids.

It is important to know that most fibroids do not require any treatment and do not cause problems. Other fibroids however may cause heavy menstrual cycles. The heavy blood loss associated with these heavy periods can lead to anemia or debilitation. In other cases, these heavy periods can lead to a condition known as "compression syndrome". This condition affects the adjacent body organs such as the bladder leading to frequent urination, or bloating and constipation.

Fibroids can also press on the nerves and lead to backache or a bulging abdominal area that is aesthetically displeasing.

It can also be confusing to determine if you have fibroids or ovarian cysts. A doctor will be able to give a proper diagnosis. An ovarian cyst is a fluid filled sac on the ovary that may also develop in the fallopian tube. A fibroid on the other hand is a muscle growth that is solid and smooth that develops on the uterus walls. Both are usually benign (non-cancerous).

Fibroids usually develop during the later reproductive years and have been found in women over 35 years of age in 1/3 of the cases. As previously mentioned, they mainly affect black women or women who have a family history of fibroids.

Fibroids do not usually produce symptoms in most women and are usually detected in much the same way as ovarian cysts though normal pelvic exams. An ultrasound can also be administered to detect the fibroids. An ultrasound can also differentiate between a fibroid and an ovarian cyst.

Uterine fibroids usually become a problem when they become large in size thus leading to increased pressure on the bladder or rectum or a protruding belly. Large fibroids can also lead to heavy periods or severe pain in the pelvic region.

Fibroids are most common in the uterus or womb and are benign. They usually develop in the uterine wall and attach to the wall. They can also migrate outside the uterus. Fibroids can develop as a single tumor or develop into clusters of tumors.

Fibroids - When to Seek Medical Treatment

1. Pain in the pelvic region or abdominal area

2. Heavy or irregular menstrual cycles or bleeding or spotting between periods

3. Night sweats or if you experience fever

4. Unusual increasing abdominal girth

5. Fertility concerns with inability to fall pregnant or other pregnancy concerns

Immediate medical treatment should be sought if any of the following occur;

a. Prolonged or intense abdominal pain or severe and prolonged pain in the pelvic region.

b. If the menstrual cycle involves heavy bleeding that soaks up more that three pads or tampons each hour.

c. If you experience dizziness, shortness of breath or chest pain due to vaginal bleeding, etc.

d. If you experience vaginal bleeding related to possible pregnancy or current pregnancy.

Uterine Fibroids - Test and Exams

a. Endometrial biopsy - A small tool is used to get small samples of tissue from the uterus.

b. Trans-vaginal or Pelvic Ultrasound - Sound waves are used to give your physician a view of your pelvic area in order to determine the size, number and shape of the fibroids.

c. Hysterosalpingography - A dye is administered into the uterus and fallopian tube. An x-ray is then used to identify the fibroids.

d. Hysteroscopy - A small fiber optic camera is used to view the uterus through the cervix opening.

e. Laparoscopy - A Small fiber optic camera is also used here that is inserted through the abdomen in order to view the internal organs.

Before fibroids become severe, there are various holistic or natural remedies that have been shown to work wonders in treating and curing fibroids. These are preferred by a growing number of women because they are less invasive and the sufferers can avoid surgery some of which includes a hysterectomy.
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