Top 7 Uterine Fibroids Facts To Be Aware Of

George Bolotin Interventional Radiologist | Vascular & Interventional Radiology Brooklyn, NY

George Bolotin, MD, is the Medical Director at the Astra Vein Treatment Center. A board certified Diagnostic Radiologist, he’s also one of the primary Astra Fibroid Treatment Specialists. His expertise in these two different but related medical fields stem from his training as an Interventional Radiologist, a medical field... more

Uterine fibroids are tumors that form on the uterine lining. Some women may have no issues at all while they develop, while others may have rather serious problems. Although the exact cause of uterine fibroids is still unknown, scientists tend to connect them to elevated estrogen levels. 

Since this condition affects many women of reproductive age, here are  seven uterine fibroids facts you need to know:

1. Uterine fibroids are a very prevalent condition 
Uterine fibroids are also known as myomas and leiomyomas. According to the National Institutes of Health, 80% of women develop this condition by the age of 50. They are more frequent in women in their 40s and early 50s. The number of cases may be greater, however, because many women with asymptomatic fibroids opt not to consult a doctor.

2. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous
The benign tumors known as fibroids do not progress to malignancy. However, they can produce the same signs and symptoms as uterine sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. The unfortunate thing is that researchers have yet to create a viable sarcoma diagnostic method.  Uterine sarcoma is typically discovered during surgery to remove fibroids.

3. Uterine fibroids may be asymptomatic 
As was already noted, many women with uterine fibroids exhibit very minor symptoms. Some fibroids-carrying women may even be caught off guard when these tumors are discovered during a routine pelvic check. However, in some women, fibroids can result in symptoms including pelvic discomfort, painful intercourse, and pain in the lower spine.

4. Uterine fibroids can leave you unable to conceive 
It is true that many women with uterine fibroids are able to become pregnant and give birth. However, if fibroids develop close to the fallopian tubes, they may obstruct the tube and hinder the fertilization of eggs.

10% to 30% of pregnancies are problematic due to the presence of uterine fibroids. Miscarriage, bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy, preterm labor, and placental issues are the most typical of these.

5. Uterine fibroids can result in heavy and painful menstrual bleeding 
Extremely heavy periods and possible blood clots are the most common signs and symptoms of fibroids. Uterine fibroids can also cause excruciating cramping and discomfort. However, a lot of women believe that the aforementioned symptoms are common in menstruation. It is best to call your gynecologist and get a definitive diagnosis if you've observed that your periods are really unpleasant and heavy.

6. There are different types of uterine fibroids
Fibroids can be as little as tiny "seedlings" or as large as to alter the shape of your uterus. Pedunculated fibroids can have a slender stem and form on the serosa, the exterior wall of your uterus.

Depending on where they form in your uterus, uterine fibroids can also be divided into different groups. Fibroids that form inside the uterine wall are referred to as intramural fibroids. Subserosal fibroids extend past the uterus, whereas submucosal fibroids protrude into the uterine cavity.

7. Uterine fibroids may not need any treatment 
Uterine fibroids don't necessarily require medical attention if you don't have any significant symptoms. Even minimally-invasive treatment or surgical intervention may be more dangerous than cautious waiting as these tumors do not become malignant and do not lead to any consequences. However, it is preferable to speak with a specialist about fibroid removal if you encounter any fibroids symptoms that make it uncomfortable or difficult for you to carry out your typical duties and significantly decrease the quality of your life.

The bottom line
Uterine fibroids can, in fact, be ignored if they don't lead to any pain or discomfort. However, it's important to be aware that uterine fibroids can lead to painful periods, pain during sexual intercourse, and infertility. In order to preserve your overall health, it is, therefore, preferable to receive effective treatment if you start showing any symptoms.