Every woman should take care of the health of her reproductive system. Systematic prevention, which includes periodic gynecological examinations, is necessary in this case. You should visit a gynecologist at least once a year for diagnostic tests. If there are any problems in the reproductive system, for example menstrual disorders, abnormal bleeding, painful periods, bleeding between periods, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
what is the reason?
Uterine fibroids are one of the most common causes of various symptoms of the female reproductive system. These changes are classified as benign tumors, but this does not mean that they can be ignored. In the case of uterine fibroids, appropriate treatment, such as drug therapy, is necessary to avoid complications related to this disease. The choice of treatment methods depends, among other things, on the age of the patient, the number and size of pathological changes. Hysterectomy is very common in premenopausal and postmenopausal women; Women of childbearing age receive different treatment if they are planning to become a mother.
It is estimated that uterine fibroids occur in about 60% of women. It is most often diagnosed in women in the premenopausal period. It occurs rarely in women under the age of twenty, but there is an increasing percentage of young women of childbearing age who cannot become pregnant due to uterine fibroids, or have problems with their appearance. In some cases, undiagnosed large uterine fibroids can cause abnormalities in the development of the fetus, contributing, inter alia: to premature birth.
Uterine fibroids – what are they?
As mentioned earlier, uterine fibroids are benign neoplastic lesions that arise from the smooth cells of the uterine muscle (myometrium cells). They are spherical in shape and compact in consistency. Uterine fibroids can reach different sizes – very often we are dealing with small uterine fibroids, the diameter of which does not exceed a few centimeters, but ignoring the symptoms of the disease can lead to excessive growth of uterine fibroids. Sometimes the size of uterine fibroids reaches several centimeters, which significantly disrupts the work of the female reproductive organs. Uterine fibroids are often multiple lesions, which means that not one but several lesions form within the uterine cavity, which do not cluster together but form in different parts of the uterus.
The size of fibroids can be changed, for example, by the action of hormones. At different stages of a woman’s life, fibroids can cause different problems, but they often make conception and reporting relatively difficult. In the case of uterine fibroids, it is necessary to choose the appropriate method of treatment – it is not easy, because these changes tend to recur.
Most often, uterine fibroids are diagnosed in women in the perimenopausal period; They can also form very early and later, for example after menopause.
Types of uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids can form in different locations. There are three types of fibroids that appear:
- subserous outside the uterine cavity – subcutaneous fibroids,
- intrauterine (under the endometrium) – submucous fibroids,
- In the uterine wall – intrauterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are classified not only by their location, but also by the morphological structure that determines whether these changes will cause unpleasant symptoms. It is worth noting that not all myomas cause diseases that make you visit a gynecologist. Some uterine fibroids may develop without symptoms for several years. There are more than ten different types of uterine fibroids, which differ in terms of their anatomical structure. One of them is submucous fibroids, which are a serious problem for women trying to conceive and pregnant women, as they can lead to miscarriage.
Although uterine fibroids are classified as neoplastic changes, they do not threaten the health and life of a woman. Only a small percentage of uterine fibroids can develop into malignant changes. However, this does not happen often – the risk of transformation from a benign tumor to a malignant tumor is less than 1%. The malignant process of uterine fibroids begins under the influence of various factors. One of the main factors is lifestyle and general health. Malignant changes in tumors that form within fibroids are rarely diagnosed. However, uterine fibroids cause chronic diseases and therefore they cannot be underestimated.
Various changes in the uterus can be detected during preventive examinations in the gynecological clinic, which every woman should go to once a year from the beginning of sexual intercourse to the time of entering the premenopausal period. Women with a family history of gynecological cancers and other reproductive system diseases should see their gynecologist more often. Regular and frequent gynecological examinations after the age of 50 are especially important, since hormonal disorders related to menopause very often lead to the development of various pathological changes in the female reproductive system. During menopause, the risk of developing breast cancer also increases.
Causes of uterine fibroids
There are many factors that increase the risk of developing uterine fibroids. The most common of them can be divided into two groups, that is, factors on which we have no influence (non-modifiable factors), as well as those that can be eliminated by reducing the risk of pathological changes.
The most common non-modifiable factors that play the greatest role in the development of fibroids include, above all, genetic factors – women with a close family history of uterine fibroids are more likely to have such changes in the smooth cells of the uterine muscle . Other factors that are out of our control include: too early onset of first menstrual bleeding, late onset of last menstrual period, and age over 50. Uterine fibroids are most often diagnosed in women whose mothers and grandmothers also suffered from this disease.
However, in the case of uterine fibroids, modifiable factors, which we can eliminate, effectively reduce the risk of developing uterine tumors and the occurrence of concomitant diseases, deserve special attention.
Modifiable factors include, first of all, metabolic disorders that lead to overweight and obesity, excessive smoking and frequent drinking of alcohol, as well as untreated arterial hypertension, which often develops as a result of an unhealthy diet, the use of stimulants, such as as well Overweight and obesity. Studies have shown that hormonal contraceptives protect against the development of uterine fibroids, and that she will also become a mother before the age of 25 years. The risk of developing fibroids is greatly reduced by having more than one child – uterine fibroids are rarely diagnosed in women with multiple births.
Regardless of the presence of risk factors, you need to monitor your body and respond quickly to the appearance of alarming symptoms. In the case of diseases of the female genital organs, the symptoms of minor diseases and serious abnormalities are often the same.
Uterine fibroids – symptoms
Symptoms of uterine fibroids do not always appear, which are associated for example: with the location of the changes; The severity of symptoms may also be affected by the size of the myoma. Most uterine fibroids cause nonspecific symptoms, which means that they are not associated with diseases of the reproductive system.
The most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include menstrual irregularities, heavy periods, prolonged menstrual bleeding, as well as spotting and bleeding between periods. These symptoms occur in two-thirds of all women with uterine fibroids.
Moreover, uterine fibroids can cause back pain, discomfort, such as pressure in the lower abdomen, pain in the abdominal cavity, increase menstrual discomfort, affect the appearance of pain spreading to the thighs, pubic and anal symphysis, and also disrupt performance career. into the bladder, which leads to frequent urination. It happens that uterine fibroids are the cause of primary or secondary infertility, miscarriage and premature birth. Women with uterine fibroids may also have an urgent need to defecate and have problems with defecation due to the presence of large uterine fibroids. The above symptoms should make a woman arrange a gynecological examination to detect the cause of unpleasant diseases.
It should be noted that any menstrual disorders, heavy and painful periods, as well as bleeding between periods may also indicate other female diseases, so they should never be underestimated. In the presence of various diseases, such as malignant neoplasms, the time for diagnosis is decisive, therefore, with any alarming symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Many postmenopausal women forgo a gynecological examination, believing that changes in the menstrual cycle are a typical symptom of menopause, but they may indicate various conditions that require specialized treatment.
Diagnosis of uterine fibroids
In the diagnosis of uterine fibroids: ultrasound examination. Transvaginal ultrasound is routinely performed at each preventive visit in the gynecological office, which allows to detect various changes in the reproductive organs at an early stage of their development, before the appearance of alarming symptoms of the disease. To confirm the uncertain diagnosis, for example, hysteroscopy, which is one of the types of endoscopic examinations, and magnetic resonance imaging can be performed.
Uterine fibroids treatment
Uterine fibroids are treated in different ways. It is used, inter alia, however, pharmacotherapy does not always bring the expected results. Other methods of getting rid of fibroids and concomitant diseases include: An operation to remove fibroids using the laparoscopic method, that is, excision of the fibroids. In women of childbearing age, the common treatment for fibroids is to remove the uterus, which prevents the disease from returning.
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