Did you know that more than 60% of women will develop uterine fibroids at some point during their reproductive years? Many women have no symptoms from these benign (non-cancerous) tumors which grow in the muscle wall of the uterus. Women who do experience symptoms complaining of pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, bladder pressure, and abdominal swelling.
Researchers are not totally sure what causes uterine fibroids but recent studies implicate genetic abnormalities on a single chromosome. However, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are also associated with their development. African American women are more prone to develop uterine fibroids.
Fibroids can lead to pregnancy complications including breech presentations in which the baby does not enter the birth canal head down. Women with fibroids have a greater need for Cesarean Section during delivery and sometimes experience pre-term births.
Most fibroids are discovered during a routine pelvic exam. The doctor is often able to detect the number and relative size of fibroids during the exam. There are many treatments available to alleviate symptoms ranging from NSAIDS (over-the-counter or prescription pain killers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, etc) to surgery. It’s important to remember that fibroids tend to shrink naturally during menopause. Dr. Amy Siegel is a female gynecologist who experienced with diagnosing and treating uterine fibroids at all stages of a woman’s life.