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Welcome to EmpowHER. Thank you for reaching out to our community for information on uterine fibroids. Have you been diagnosed with a uterine fibroid that measures 54mm(2.12 inches)?
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. Also called leiomyomas or myomas, uterine fibroids are not associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer.
Many women who have fibroids don't have any symptoms. In those that do, symptoms can be influenced by the location, size and number of fibroids. In women who have symptoms, the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
Pelvic pressure or pain
Difficulty emptying the bladder
Backache or leg pains
Rarely, a fibroid can cause acute pain when it outgrows its blood supply, and begins to die.
Fibroids are generally classified by their location. Intramural fibroids grow within the muscular uterine wall. Submucosal fibroids bulge into the uterine cavity. Subserosal fibroids project to the outside of the uterus.
Doctors don't know the cause of uterine fibroids, but research and clinical experience point to these factors:
Genetic changes. Many fibroids contain changes in genes that differ from those in normal uterine muscle cells.
Hormones. Estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that stimulate development of the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle in preparation for pregnancy, appear to promote the growth of fibroids. Fibroids contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine muscle cells do. Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause due to a decrease in hormone production.
Other growth factors. Substances that help the body maintain tissues, such as insulin-like growth factor, may affect fibroid growth.
Doctors believe that uterine fibroids develop from a stem cell in the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus (myometrium). A single cell divides repeatedly, eventually creating a firm, rubbery mass distinct from nearby tissue.
The growth patterns of uterine fibroids vary — they may grow slowly or rapidly, or they may remain the same size. Some fibroids go through growth spurts, and some may shrink on their own. Many fibroids that have been present during pregnancy shrink or disappear after pregnancy, as the uterus goes back to a normal size.
There are few known risk factors for uterine fibroids, other than being a woman of reproductive age. Other factors that can have an impact on fibroid development include:
Heredity. If your mother or sister had fibroids, you're at increased risk of developing them.
Race. Black women are more likely to have fibroids than women of other racial groups. In addition, black women have fibroids at younger ages, and they're also likely to have more or larger fibroids.
Environmental factors. Onset of menstruation at an early age; use of birth control; obesity; a vitamin D deficiency; having a diet higher in red meat and lower in green vegetables, fruit and dairy; and drinking alcohol, including beer, appear to increase your risk of developing fibroids.
To learn more about uterine fibroids, visit Womenshealth.gov.
Regards,January 10, 2017 - 9:29am