Fibroids are benign, fibrous tumors that arise from the muscular wall of the uterus. Fibroids are muscle tumors. The most common signs that fibroids may be present are periods that are accompanied by heavy bleeding and intense pain. Fibroids often develop and recede on their own and offer no outward symptoms until they grow so large that they eventually put pressure on a nerve or blood vessel that lie within the lining of the uterus. Doctors are not sure what exactly causes fibroids to form. Most fibroids are discovered during a pelvic exam. The smallest fibroids may go undetected for long periods of time until they grow large enough to be felt or observed by an ultrasound.
Many women have fibroid or uterine tumors at some point in their lives. The majority of fibroids form and recede on their own. Once a doctor uncovers fibroids, they will normally take a ‘watch and wait’ approach. Unless the tumors cause symptoms or become large, they usually can be left alone and will often recede in menopause. Medications can be used to suppress the hormones and other elements that cause the fibroids to form. Intrauterine devices that release progestin are also beneficial in helping to control fibroids. If the fibroids continue to grow, they can actually distort the uterus and prevent a woman from becoming pregnant. Laparoscopic surgeries can be used to remove larger fibroids that may be causing pain and discomfort.
Many women have fibroids and show no symptoms at all. Fibroids that remain relatively small normally recede before they can cause any pain or discomfort. Women can have fibroids at various times throughout their lives but most recede rather quickly without ever being treated. Many women confuse symptoms caused by fibroids with those commonly associated with their periods or other reproductive disorders. What symptoms do appear, can be attributed to a variety of other health conditions. When a woman goes to her OB-GYN for her discomfort, the doctor often will discover that fibroids are the cause.
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