Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that appear in the uterus between puberty and menopause. Ranging in size from microscopic to bulky enough to distort the shape of the uterus, it is essential to address the underlying causes of uterine fibroids in order to rule out serious health concerns.
Most women have uterine fibroids at some point in their reproductive life but may never realize it. Others experience heavy menstrual bleeding, periods that last longer than one week, or persistent pelvic pain and heaviness. In rare cases, uterine fibroids can block the blood flow to other areas of the body causing backache and leg pain.
While there is no clear-cut cause of uterine fibroids, there are certain factors that can affect their growth. Women whose mother or sisters experience uterine fibroids are more like to have them as well. An improper balance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, both necessary for normal menstrual flow, can have an effect on the development and growth uterine fibroids. Birth control use, obesity, poor diet, and a vitamin D deficiency can also increase the likelihood of developing fibroids.
Just like there is no one cause, there is no one treatment for uterine fibroids. Many women experience a few symptoms that do not interfere with reproductive health and are instructed to watch and wait. Medications designed to regulate the menstrual cycle may shrink the presence of uterine fibroids. Laparoscopic surgery may be indicated for fibroids that are interfering with the blood supply to other organs or that are preventing pregnancy. In all cases, proper diagnosis and care are essential when making a treatment decision.
For more information about uterine fibroids, or to discuss existing symptoms call the office of Newport Beach OB/GYN Medical Group, Inc. for an appointment and consultation.
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