Uterine Fibroids: Basics and Causes
out of four women have uterine fibroids.
vast majority of these females don't even know that they have them.
a woman's childbearing years. They aren't associated with any increased risk of uterine cancer. The growths, additionally, practically never develop into a cancerous growth.
of fibroids include heavier bleeding than normal during your menstrual
period, pain or pressure in the pelvic region as well as urinary
incontinence or the need to urinate frequently. Additional symptoms include
constipation, backache or aches in the legs.
rare occasions a fibroid may cause severe, acute pain when it outgrows its
blood supply. Because it's
deprived of nourishment, the fibroid starts to die.
Then the by-products from the dying growth can seep into the
surrounding issue. This not
only causes the pain, but may also produce a fever.
Moreover, a woman may experience pain associated with a fibroid if
the growth is hanging by a stalk either inside or outside the uterus. This is caused a pedunculated fibroid. It triggers the pain when it twists on this stalk and its
blood supply is cut off.
exact location of your fibroids, moreover, is a determining factor in the
types of symptoms you experience. Medical
experts believe that fibroids growing in the inner cavity of the uterus
cause prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding.
These are referred to as submucosal fibroids.
the fibroid projects to the outside of the uterus, it's identified as a
subserosal fibroid. This is the
type that may press on your bladder, causing you to experience urinary
symptoms. If these bulge from
the back of your uterus, they can press on your rectum, which would cause
constipation. They may also
press on your spinal nerves, which would cause the symptoms of a backache.
Uterine Fibroids: Causes
If so many women potentially have fibroids, just what causes them?
question. Fibroids develop
initially from one, single cell from inside the smooth muscular tissue of
the uterus. This cell
reproduces repeatedly which eventually creates a pale mass of tissue
distinct from its neighbors. This
tissue is firm, but rubbery. Science
has yet to answer why this happens. But,
there are some theories being offered.
medical experts believe that fibroids are basically genetic alterations.
They have discovered that many fibroids contain alterations in the
genes that specifically code for uterine muscle cells.
theory on the cause of fibroids is that two hormones, estrogen and
progesterone, stimulate the development of the lining of the uterus in
preparation for an eventual pregnancy.
Fibroids just contain more of these hormone receptors than normal
uterine muscle cells.
growths come in all sizes. They
range in size from what is called a "seedling" not visible to the
human eye to the bulky masses that have been known to distort and enlarge
the uterus, causing physical pain.
third theory revolves around chemical factors.
Substances that help the body with tissue maintenance – like the
insulin-like growth factor – may play a role in the growth of these
come in just about every size imaginable.
Some are so small that they can't be detected unaided by the human
eye. Others are so large that
they protrude from the uterus enlarging and distorting its size.
In some extreme cases, fibroids have been so large that it reached up
to the rib cage.
potentially three quarters of the women already have developed fibroids, it
might seem strange to talk about risk factors.
It appears the only meaningful risk factor is being female.
But, indeed, beyond that there certainly are two conditions that
increase the changes of her developing uterine fibroids.
The first is heredity. If
your mother or your sister had fibroids, you're definitely at increased risk
for getting them yourself.
you're a black woman, then you'll more likely develop fibroids.
In fact, research shows that black women not only develop these
growths earlier in life, they're also more likely to have a greater number
of them and for them to be larger in size.
studies additionally suggest that obese women are more likely to develop
these non-cancerous growths than those of healthy weight. But the evidence here is still non-conclusive.
suggestion has been made that women who have taken oral contraceptives may
have a decreased risk of fibroids. The
same is said for women who are athletic.
Again, in both of these instances there is not enough evidence to
make any conclusions yet.
some believe the growths appear because of the stimulating effects of
hormones which prepare the uterus for pregnancy.
For this reason, they suggest that pregnancy may provide a protective
factor for women. Again, there
is no evidence that this is so.
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