February 19, 2010

Uterine Fibroids And Pregnancy: Symptoms and Treatment

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Fibroids are abnormal growths of muscular tissue that can grow anywhere. In the case of some women, fibroids grow on the uterus. The most common are intramural uterine fibroids, which grow on the inner wall of the uterus. Subserosal fibroids are found on the outside wall of the uterus, and these can often interfere with other organs. Close to 75 percent of women have uterine fibroids during their reproductive years. These fibroids are usually very small and in most cases are not detected since they produce no symptoms. Such uterine fibroids are normally discovered only during routine pelvic examinations. In some cases, such fibroids are first noticed during prenatal ultrasound procedures in pregnant women.


Symptoms of uterine fibroids are varied and resemble other reproductive or menstrual complications. These include heavy and prolonged menses, a feeling of pressure in the pelvic region, urinations difficulties, back pains, and constipation. In cases where the subserosal fibroids grow large, they can put pressure on the surrounding organs, leading to severe pain. The exact cause of uterine fibroids is not clear, though it is generally accepted that there is a genetic factor. Hormonal imbalances are also a likely cause, since it has been observed that fibroids tend to grow slightly during pregnancy and shrink after giving birth. A similar shrinking is also observed after menopause, when many hormones cease production. In almost all cases, the fibroids are benign and cause no harm. In a small minority fibroids may develop into cancer, and a gynecologist should be consulted for analysis. Pregnant women especially need to ensure that any fibroids do not interfering with their growing fetus. If there are many fibroids or if they are too large, they can causes serious complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, abnormal fetus position, and even infertility. However, since most uterine fibroids are small and harmless, the main complication during pregnancy is localized pain during the first two trimesters. This can be treated with doctor-approved pain relievers. Another problem for pregnant women is that excessive menses caused by the fibroids can lead to anemia and iron deficiency. This needs to be treated with supplements and an iron-rich diet to avoid childbirth complications.

A small number of women with uterine fibroids experience severe symptoms and may be at danger of organ damage due to large fibroids. In such cases, surgery may be required to remove the growths, including hysterectomy. In other cases, prescription medication can be sufficient to shrink the fibroids.