Fibroids are abnormal, non-cancerous tumors that develop in the uterus, or womb.
These tumors are made of fibrous connective tissue and muscle cells. Also known as myomas, fibromas, or leiomyomas, fibroids often appear during the reproductive age.
Usually, they grow in the uterus or attach to the uterine wall and may develop as a single tumor or in clusters.
Fibroids may range in size from grain-size, undetectable by the human eye to bigger tumors weighing pounds that can enlarge and distort the uterus.
Fibroids can cause pelvic pain, excessive menstrual bleeding, abdominal pain, frequent urination, and several other problems. Often, fibroids impact fertility and pregnancy chances.
What causes fibroids?
The cause of fibroids remains unknown so far. However, it has been established that fibroids have a genetic link. Affected women tend to have a family history of fibroids.
Another factor that has been associated with the presence of fibroids is stimulation by estrogen and progesterone hormones. It is believed that these hormones cause an aberrant muscle cell in the uterus to multiply rapidly.
Pregnancy and obesity have also been associated with the growth of hormones.
What are the symptoms of fibroids?
Often, fibroids do not have symptoms or have only mild symptoms. Most women with fibroids are usually unaware of their presence. In those that do, the symptoms may depend on the size of the tumor, the location, and number.
The most common symptoms of fibroids include:
- Prolonged menstrual periods lasting more than a week.
- Excessive bleeding during the menstrual cycle.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Lower back pain or pelvic pain. This may happen as a result of the tumor pressing on pelvic organs.
- Frequent urination caused by pressure on the bladder.
- A pressure in the lower abdomen.
- Constipation due to pressure on the rectum.
- Inability to get pregnant
How fibroids affect pregnancy
The effect of a fibroid on pregnancy depends on its size and where it is growing within the uterus.
During pregnancy, there is an influx of hormones in a woman's body which causes the uterus to grow to accommodate the growing fetus.
The increased production of hormones may prompt fibroids to grow hence creating complications during pregnancy and delivery.
In some instances, a fibroid may grow large enough to cause an increased risk of miscarriage.
If a fibroid grows in the uterine cavity, it can interfere with the normal implantation of the pregnancy or disrupt the growth of the placenta.
During pregnancy, fibroids may also cause acute abdominal pain and bleeding if the placenta is close to the fibroid or if the blood supply to the fibroid is obstructed.
Other complications associated with fibroids during pregnancy include:
- Placental abruption,
- Postpartum hemorrhage,
- Fetal growth restriction,
- Obstructed labor, and
- Preterm delivery.
- Fibroids and Vaginal Birth
The likelihood of fibroids complicating normal vaginal birth is fairly low.
However, there is a possibility that vaginal birth complications can arise depending on the size, number and position in the uterine cavity.
In circumstances where a large enough fibroid is close to the cervix and physically blocks the baby's way out, it may prove complicated to have a safe vaginal birth.
In such a situation, cesarean-section should be performed. But under normal circumstances, fibroids should not complicate vaginal birth.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and everything in this article is for information purpose only, I would recommend you to talk to your doctor or health care provider to get more accurate information about your condition.
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