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Uterine fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomas or simply myomas, are noncancerous growths or tumors that develop in or on the muscular wall of the uterus (the womb). These growths are composed of smooth muscle tissue and fibrous connective tissue. Uterine fibroids are quite common and can vary in size, number, and location within the uterus.

Key characteristics and information about uterine fibroids include:

– Prevalence

Uterine fibroids are a common gynecological condition, particularly among women of reproductive age. It is estimated that up to 70% of women may develop fibroids at some point in their lives, although not all of these cases will cause symptoms or require treatment.

Cause

The exact cause of uterine fibroids is not entirely understood. However, hormonal factors, particularly estrogen and progesterone, play a significant role in their growth. Genetic factors and family history may also increase the risk of developing fibroids.

Symptoms

Many women with uterine fibroids do not experience any symptoms and may not be aware they have them. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia).
  • Prolonged menstrual periods.
  • Menstrual periods with clots.
  • Pelvic pain or pressure.
  • Frequent urination or difficulty emptying the bladder.
  • Backache or leg pains.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of uterine fibroids is typically made through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests, such as transvaginal ultrasound or MRI. Hysteroscopy and other procedures may also be used to visualize the inside of the uterus.

Types

There are several types of uterine fibroids based on their location within the uterus:

Intramural Fibroids

These fibroids develop within the muscular wall of the uterus.

Submucosal Fibroids

Submucosal fibroids develop just beneath the inner lining of the uterine cavity.

Subserosal Fibroids

Subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus, often projecting into the abdominal cavity.

Pedunculated Fibroids

These fibroids can be any type (subserosal, intramural, or submucosal) but are attached to the uterus by a stalk or peduncle.

Treatment

The choice of treatment for uterine fibroids depends on factors such as the size and location of the fibroids, the severity of symptoms, the patient's age, and her desire for future fertility. Treatment options include:

  • Medications to manage symptoms.
  • Minimally invasive procedures Myomectomy Laparoscopy.
  • Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), which is a definitive treatment but not suitable for women who want to preserve fertility.
Uterine fibroids are typically noncancerous, and the vast majority do not become cancerous. However, they can cause significant discomfort and impact a woman's quality of life. If you suspect you have uterine fibroids or are experiencing symptoms related to them, it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and to discuss treatment options if necessary.
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