Fibroid growth is a common gynaecological condition among women. Fibroids are muscle growths around the wall of the uterus. They are also known as leiomyomas. Fibroids are made up of the muscles and connective tissues from the wall of the uterus. They can grow as a single nodule or in clusters and can go more than 8 inches in diameter. They can grow within the wall, inside the cavity or even on the surface of the uterine wall. These are usually non- cancerous and most of the time show no symptoms. Fibroid growth around the uterus is quite common among women but in most of the cases, they don't even know that they have fibroids. The symptoms of fibroids differ with each case. The symptoms you are experiencing do not have to match with any other fibroid patient. Every case is unique and so is its treatment. In this article, Dr. Kavya Krishna Kumar, Consultant - Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Alwarpet, Chennai explains types and risk factors of uterine fibroids.
Types of fibroids
Fibroids can grow inside, outside, and in the cavity of the uterine wall. The location and size of the fibroids are essential to know for the treatment. Symptoms of fibroids too depend on this size and location. Based on the location around your uterus, there are four types of fibroids:
- Submucosal fibroids: These growths happen inside the uterine cavity. This is the same space where the foetus grows.
- Intramural Fibroids - In this case the fibroids are embedded into the wall of the uterus itself.
- Subserosal Fibroids: These fibroids grow outside the wall of the uterus.
- Pedunculated Fibroids: This case of fibroid growth is quite rare. They are also located outside the wall of the uterus, but they are connected to the uterus with a stem. Imagine a muscular tumour has grown a stem on it for support. It makes it look like a mushroom.
All these fibroids show different symptoms because of their location and size. And the treatment will also depend on these factors.
Risk factors that influence fibroid growth
Specialists still don't know the exact reason for fibroid growth but there are some factors that highly affect the growth. Some of such factors are –
- Hormones - The development of uterine lining is stimulated by hormones. Oestrogen and progesterone and fibroids contain more receptors for these hormones than a regular uterine cell. Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause due to decrease in supply of these hormones. This clearly indicates that fibroid growth is influenced by hormones.
- Heredity - Heredity too is an important factor to look at. If someone from your family tree has fibroids then the chances of you getting them are much higher.
- Pregnancy – During pregnancy fibroids increase in size, this is because of hormones during this time.
- Early menstruation - Starting your menstruation at an early age increases the risk of developing fibroids.
- Diet and lifestyle: Vitamin D deficiency in your body can lead to fibroid growth. People who have a diet low on green vegetables and dairy have a high risk of developing fibroids. You should have a balanced diet with balanced nutrients and minerals.
- Alcohol: Consuming too much alcohol too appears to increase the risk of developing fibroids.
- Body tissues - Substances like insulin helps in maintaining body tissues. And they also influence fibroid growth.
Though having fibroids sounds terrifying but with proper guidance from your gynaecologist one can easily get rid of them. Most of the time these growths are asymptomatic. In some cases, the symptoms can be severe depending upon the size and location of the fibroid. It is always recommended to look for signs and consult a doctor if any discomfort happens in your body. In the case of fibroids, your treatment will depend on your unique case. It is also advisable not to ignore fibroids as it can become severe and may cause anaemia and menstrual issues in women. When it is bigger in size it can press on the surrounding organs and cause other problems too. Treatment for fibroid depends on the size, symptoms of the patient, age and location of the fibroid.
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