When a single cell reproduces over and over again on the inside or outside of the uterus, a rubbery looking growth known as a uterine fibroid begins to form. Fibroids can range in size from that of a small seed to a fairly large mass that can distort the uterus and body shape.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous and usually form after your childbearing years. They are very rarely cancerous. Roughly three out of every four women get uterine fibroids at some point in their lives.
Often, fibroids have no symptoms. Unless they are extremely large or causing discomfort, they don't require treatment. Doctors at Florida Hospital Celebration Health will usually try to stop their growth of shrink them. If necessary they can be removed.
There's reason uterine fibroids is not entirely understood, but they are believed to be caused by genetic code alterations in the uterine muscles. They can run in families and women of African decent have a statistically higher chance of developing fibroids at a younger age.
If symptoms are present they may include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Extended menstrual periods that last more than seven days
- Pressure or pain in the pelvis
- Need to urinate frequently
- Difficulty fully emptying your bladder
- Backache or leg pain
- Frequent constipation
If the fibroid has begun to die, you can experience a pain or fever.
If the uterine fibroid is on the outside of the uterus, you may experience more episodes of constipation, backache and urinary problems.
You will want to schedule a visit with your doctor if you have extended periods of pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, spotting or bleeding between periods, problems fully emptying your bladder or constipation. If you experience a sharp pain or heavy vaginal bleeding you will want to call your doctor immediately.