FAQ on Fibroids
What are fibroids?Fibroids, also known as uterine fibroids or leiomyomas, are noncancerous growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. They are made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue.
How common are fibroids?Fibroids are quite common, affecting many women during their reproductive years. It is estimated that up to 70% of women will develop fibroids at some point in their lives.
What are the symptoms of fibroids?Fibroids can cause a range of symptoms, including heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, pelvic pain or pressure, frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, constipation, backache, and in some cases, infertility or recurrent miscarriages.
What causes fibroids?The exact cause of fibroids is unknown, but several factors may contribute to their development, including hormonal imbalances, genetics, and estrogen and progesterone levels. Other risk factors include age, family history, and race (African-American women have a higher risk).
How are fibroids diagnosed?Fibroids are typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history, pelvic examination, and imaging tests such as ultrasound, hysterosonography, or MRI. These tests help determine the size, location, and number of fibroids present.
Can fibroids lead to cancer?Although fibroids are noncancerous, there is a rare type of cancer called leiomyosarcoma that can develop in the uterine wall. However, the risk of developing cancerous fibroids is extremely low, with less than 1% of fibroids being cancerous.
What are the treatment options for fibroids?Treatment options for fibroids depend on various factors, including the severity of symptoms, the size and location of the fibroids, and a woman’s desire to have children. Treatment options may include medication to manage symptoms, noninvasive procedures such as focused ultrasound or uterine artery embolization, or surgical options like myomectomy (removal of fibroids) or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).
Can fibroids be prevented?Since the exact cause of fibroids is unknown, it is not currently possible to prevent their development. However, leading a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress, may help reduce the risk or severity of symptoms.
Can fibroids affect fertility?In some cases, fibroids can contribute to fertility issues, particularly if they distort the shape of the uterus or block the fallopian tubes. However, not all fibroids have a significant impact on fertility. Depending on the specific situation, various treatment options, including surgical removal of the fibroids, may be recommended to improve fertility.
Are there any alternative or natural remedies for fibroids?While there is limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of alternative or natural remedies for fibroids, some women find relief from symptoms by trying approaches such as acupuncture, herbal supplements, dietary changes (including increased intake of fruits and vegetables), and stress reduction techniques. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any alternative remedies.