Fibroids Awareness Month: What are the symptoms and risk factors for fibroids?

Published on: 21 July 2022, 14:54 pm IST

July is marked as the Fibroid Awareness Month with an aim to spread awareness and educate people about the condition and its cure.

uterine fibroids signs
July is Fibroids Awareness Month! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Fibroids are unwanted growths made up of the muscle and connective tissue of the uterine wall. They are also called leiomyomas. They can vary in size, shape and location within your uterus. They can grow as a single nodule or in clusters, and can range from 1 mm to more than 8 inches in size. Fibroids can grow on the surface, in the cavity or inside the wall of the uterus.

Fibroid growth on the uterine wall is usually benign or non-cancerous but it can cause a lot of other problems for women especially during pregnancy. July is marked as the Fibroids Awareness Month, with an aim to spread awareness and educate people about the condition and its cure. So let’s know how to detect fibroids so that it can be treated on the initial stage.

What are the symptoms of fibroids?

Symptoms of fibroids can vary from women to women. The symptoms you are facing don’t have to match with the symptoms of somebody else. Its treatment will depend on the kind of case of fibroid you have.

fibroids during menopause
Most fibroids shrink on their own when estrogen levels decline. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Approximately, 40-80 percent of women experience tumor growth in their pelvis. The growth of fibroids is quite common in women. Many women do not experience any symptoms, thus sometimes they don’t realize they have fibroids. Such cases of fibroid growth are called asymptomatic fibroid.

Also, read: Here’s all you need to know about uterine fibroids during menopause

If the fibroids are growing bigger in size, a number of symptoms will be experienced by women. Some of the them include:

  • Excessive bleeding during your menstruation
  • Bloating and feeling fullness in your abdomen
  • Excessive pain during menstruation
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Constipation
  • Chronic vaginal discharge
  • Inability to urinate or completely empty your bladder
  • Pain during sex
  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Frequent urination, if the fibroid is putting pressure on your bladder

What are the risk factors for fibroids?

The exact cause of why fibroids happen is still unknown. They typically happen in women at reproductive age, and are not generally seen in younger women. But there are many risk factors that play a role in fibroid growth in the uterus.

1. Obesity and a higher body weight

Obesity and high weight increases the chance of fibroid growth.

2. Genetics

Family history of having fibroids increases the risk of having fibroids. Heredity appears to affect the growth of fibroids. If someone in your family had a history of having fibroids, then it increases the risk.

3. Early menstruation

Having your menstruation cycle start at a very young age increases the risk of fibroid growth.

4. Late age of menopause

fibroids after menopause
There is a strong link between fibroids and fertility. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Not having menopause at the right age indicates the imbalance of hormones which increases the risk of having fibroid.

5. Diet

Deficiency of vitamin D, high protein diet or inclusion of too much red meat in your diet can affect fibroid growth. If your diet is low on green vegetables, fruits and dairy then it increases the chance of having fibroids.

6. Alcohol

Heavy alcohol consumption too plays a role in fibroid growth. Drinking alcohol and even beer are found to increase the risk of fibroid growth.

7. Other factors

Imbalances of substances that help in maintaining tissues in the body, such as insulin may lead to increased the risk of fibroid growth.

There are different treatments available depending on your case. Sometimes fibroids are asymptomatic and can’t be detected. But having a healthy lifestyle minimizes the risk of fibroid growth. And with severe symptoms, you should always consider consulting a doctor.

Dr. Nagaveni. R Dr. Nagaveni. R

Dr. Nagaveni. R, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, HRBR Layout, Bengaluru

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