Also called uterine myomas, fibroids are made of dense, firm, and smooth uterine muscles and tissues. The growths develop in or around the uterus and mainly affect women during their childbearing years. The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) estimates that fibroids affect nearly 20% to 80% of women. If you are an African American woman, you may be at high risk of fibroids Houston, TX. The cause of fibroids is not known and the condition is more prevalent among African-American women.
Below are a few things you need to remember about uterine fibroids.
1. Potential causes of fibroids
Several studies focusing on the condition’s cause have only managed to link its development to shrinking estrogen levels. Estrogen is a female reproductive hormone that plays a significant role in developing normal sexual and reproductive traits. Estrogen regulates menstruation and affects breasts, hair, pelvic muscles, the reproductive tract, and the urinary tract.
During your reproductive years, from the age of 15 to 50, estrogen levels in the body are usually high. Past the age of 50, estrogen tends to decrease gradually. Studies link the formation of fibroids to the reduction in estrogen levels, especially during menopause.
2. Signs and symptoms of fibroids
Often, you may have fibroids without showing signs and symptoms. Sometimes fibroids can grow the size of a pea or a watermelon. If fibroids are too small, a routine gynecological examination or test may not reveal them.
But, your non-cancerous fibroids may also come with severe signs and symptoms, including heavy vaginal bleeding, pelvic discomfort and pain, bladder problems, low back pain, and painful or uncomfortable sex. For instance, bladder problems are characterized by the need to urinate frequently or the inability to urinate. Uterine fibroids reduce the capacity of your bladder to store urine or block the passage of urine.
3. Diagnosis of fibroids
Your doctor may find that you have fibroids during your routine pelvic examination. If your doctor thinks that you have fibroids because of your signs and symptoms or your uterus has an irregular shape or has become larger, you will undergo further tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Tests your doctor can rely on for fibroids diagnosis are an ultrasound scan, hysteroscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
An ultrasound diagnostic procedure utilizes high-frequency sound waves to create images of the uterus and ovaries and their adjacent structures. Unlike x-rays, capturing images with ultrasound does not involve exposure to ionizing radiation; thus, it is a safe way of detecting fibroids.
Although an MRI is a more costly diagnostic procedure than an ultrasound scan, it is still popular because it creates a detailed image of fibroids in their precise location.
4. Fibroids treatment
As long as your fibroids do not cause complications and severe signs and symptoms such as infertility, miscarriages, excessive vaginal bleeding, and bladder problems, you do not need treatment. Still, your doctor will need to monitor the fibroids and their effects.
Your doctor can treat your fibroids conservatively. Non-surgical treatment options your doctor may recommend are hormone medications, anti-inflammatory painkillers, and intrauterine devices (IUD).
Contact Alate Health today to schedule an appointment and learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of fibroids.