Uterine fibroid are non-cancerious tumor that grows from the muscle layers of the womb. These benign growth of smooth muscle can vary from the size of a bean to being as large as a melon.
Fibroid affect around 30% of all women by the age of 35 and from 20%_80% by the age of 50.They usually develop between the age of 16 to 50yrs.These are the reproductive years during which estrogen levels are higher.
TYPES OF FIBROID:
There are four types of fibroid.
1) Intramural…This is the most common type, its embedded in the muscular wall of the womb
2) subserosal….it extend beyond the wall of the womb and grow within the surrounding outer uterine tissue layer. They can develop into pedunculated fibroid, where the fibroid has a stalk and can become quite large.
3) submucosal…this type can push into cavity of the womb. It’s usually found in the muscle beneath the inner lining of the womb.
4) cervical…..It takes root in the neck of the womb known as the cervix.
The classification of fibroid depends on its location in the womb.
1. Heavy painful period.
2. Anemia from heavy period.
3. Lower backache or leg pain.
5. Discomfort in lower abdomen especially in the case of large fibroid
6. Frequent urination
7. Pain during intercourse, known as dyspareumi
OTHER POSSIBLE Symptoms Include
1. Labour Problems
2. Pregnancy problem
3. Fertility Problem
4. Repeated Miscarriages
If Fibroids are large there may also be weight gain and swelling in the lower abdomen. Once a fibroid develops, it can continue to grow until menopause. As estrogen levels fall after menopause the fibroid will usually shrink.
While is not clearly known what causes fibroids, its believed that each tumor develops from an aberrant muscle cell in the uterus, which multiplies rapidly because of the influence of estrogen. During the reproductive years estrogen and progesterone level are higher, when estrogen levels are high especially during pregnancy, fibroids tend to swell. They are also more likely to develop when a woman is taking birth control pills that contains estrogen.
Genetic factors are thought to also impact the development of fibroids. Having a close relative with fibroid increases the chance of developing them.
There is also evidence that red meat, alcohol and caffeine could increase the risk of fibroid and that an increase intake of fruit and vegetables might reduce it.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of fibroids. Childbearing lower the risk of developing fibroids. The risk reduces each time a woman give birth.
Fibroids do not normally result in complication, but if they occur, they can be serious and even life threatening.
1) Menorrhagia- Also called heavy periods, this sometimes prevent a woman from functioning normally during menstruation leading to depression anemia and fatigue.
2) Abdominal pain- If fibroids are large, swelling or discomfort may occur in the lower abdomen. They may also cause constipation with painful bowel movement.
3) Pregnancy problems- Preterm birth labour problems and miscarriages may occur as estrogen levels rises significantly during pregnancy.
4) Infertility -ln some cases, fibroid can make it harder for the fertilized egg to attach itself to the lining of the womb. A submucosal fibroid that grows on the inside of the uterine cavity may change the shape of the womb thereby making conception difficult.
5) Leiomyosarcoma- This is a rare form of cancer that is thought by some to be able to develop inside of a fibroid in very rare cases.
Other serious complications include :acute thromboembolism, deep vein thrombosis, acute renal failure and internal bleeding.