Uterine fibroids are growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. Three out of four women will develop uterine fibroids during their lifetime. Most, however, will not even be aware of them because they produce no symptoms.
In the case of women who do have symptoms, they may experience the following:
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Prolonged menstrual periods — seven days or more of menstrual bleeding
Pelvic pressure or pain
Difficulty emptying your bladder
Backache or leg pains
When you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, including spotting between periods or painful intercourse, it may be time to see the doctor. Interestingly, if your mother or sister had fibroids, chances are that you will too. Even race plays a factor as studies indicate that black women are more likely to have fibroids than any other race.
Is there a cancer connection?
The Mayo Clinic reveals that uterine fibroids aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer. There are complications associated with this condition, but first, why do they develop anyway? The answer is not clear. Doctors do know that genetic alterations, hormones and even natural chemicals produced by the body (insulin-like growth factor) may be factors.
But when complications become persistent and intense, it is best to seek medical help. Heavy blood loss and anemia can develop as well as severe pain. And even though many can have a successful pregnancy with fibroids, some women have had repeated lost pregnancies. Research clearly shows that fibroids cause a slight increase in miscarriages, premature labor and delivery, abnormal fetal position and placenta separation. When this occurs, your doctor will probably discuss the possibility of removing some of or all of your fibroids to decrease this risk.
But what if you are one that is finding it necessary to get further medical help due to complications that your fibroids have brought about?