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What are uterine fibroids?

A uterine fibroid develops from the same cells that comprise the muscles of the uterus. However, these cells form tumors, which are also known as leiomyoma or myoma of the uterus. These tumors can extend into the bladder, intestine, or bowel. But they most often occur on the wall of the uterus.
Their size ranges from very small to quite large. There are uterine fibroids the size of a pea and there have also been those reported at the size of a football.
These growths do not put you at risk for cancer. However, they can cause other problems. The uterus can be literally pushed aside or become abnormally shaped. The intestines and bladder can sometimes be under significant pressure from sizeable growths. There have even been reported cases of a blocked uterus by a fibroid.
Changing estrogen levels appear to be linked to uterine fibroids. However, at present, we do not know what causes them. However, estrogen levels can definitely increase the rate of growth.
Typically, these growths do not occur in women under the age of 30. But in women of childbearing years, 20 percent will have uterine fibroids. As menopause decreases the estrogen levels in the body, the fibroids will shrink or disappear.
Sometimes fibroids are asymptomatic. Other times they can present with pelvic pain, painful periods, backache, heavy bleeding, constipation, discomfort with urination, and pressure in the abdomen. Infertility and miscarriages are common with this condition.
If the fibroids are asymptomatic, no treatment will be offered. However, if treatment is needed, there are a number of surgical measures that can alleviate the symptoms. Additionally, there are medications and a procedure which starves the fibroid.
To manage the symptoms at home, over-the-counter medications for pain, rest, iron supplements, and a diet high in iron are all recommended.
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More questions

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