Uterine fibroids are non cancerous tumors. Fibroids develop from the muscular wall of the uterus. There can be a single fibroid or number of fibroids and they may vary in size. A fibroid can be as tiny as a peanut or as big as a tennis ball. Uterine fibroids develop during the fertile period of woman, mainly between 30 to 45 years.
The exact cause of uterine fibroid is not known, but its growth is believed have hormonal influence, mainly estrogen hormone. Fibroids are not life threatening, but it can produce discomforting symptoms such as excessive menstrual bleeding, pain in lower abdomen, anemia due to heavy bleeding etc. Some fibroids are asymptomatic and they do not grow in size.
If fibroids begin to produce discomforting symptoms, the patient may need treatment.Management consists of hormonal therapy, minimal invasive procedures such as uterine artery embolization or lastly hysterectomy or surgical removal of uterus.
What Causes Uterine Fibroids?
The exact cause for development of fibroid is not known. However, there are some factors that are believed to be responsible for its development.
- Uterine fibroids have been seen in families. It means there is a genetic factor involved in its formation. If your mother had history of uterine fibroid, you are at greater risk of developing fibroid.
- Hormones play important role for several changes in uterus. Especially the two hormones called progesterone and estrogen have immense influence on female genital tract including the uterus. This is why fibroids usually develop during the child bearing period in a woman. After menopause uterine fibroid shrink, probably because of decrease in estrogen hormone.
- Asian and African woman are more prone to develop fibroid as compared to people in western world.
Other factors such as early onset of menses, eating excess of red meat, low consumption of fruits and vegetables, alcohol are suspected triggers for development of uterine fibroids.
Signs And Symptoms Of Uterine Fibroids
Most women having fibroids do not have any complaints or discomfort. Only 10 to 20 percent may develop symptoms. Asymptomatic fibroids are usually detected on sonogram for some other reasons. The size of uterine fibroid may vary. It can be like a tiny marble or as big as a lemon.
Fibroids develop from the walls of uterus. This growth can be inside the uterus, between the muscular layer of uterus or on the outer surface of the uterus. The symptoms of uterine fibroid depend on the size, numbers, and the area. Following are the signs and symptoms:
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding during menses is one of the characteristic features of fibroid.
- Pain in lower abdomen and pelvis.
- Large fibroid can compress urinary bladder as a result patient has increased frequency of urination.
- Large uterine fibroid can compress the colon, causing constipation.
- The abdomen may appear enlarged in size if the woman has very large fibroid.
Treatment And Home Remedies For Uterine Fibroids
All fibroids do not cause discomforting symptoms; surprisingly most women having fibroids are asymptomatic. Out of them only 10 to 20 percent have disturbing symptoms such as heavy bleeding, big clots of blood in menses, cramps in lower pelvis etc. These patients need to be treated. The rest asymptomatic fibroids need regular monitoring.
All uterine fibroids are tried to be managed conservatively, especially if the women is nearing her menopause, because fibroids shrink in size as she attains menopause. Conservative management includes hormonal therapy and other medications. Some patients may need surgical removal of fibroid, the procedure is called hysterectomy.
Home remedies are useful during the conservative management:
- Apply warm castor oil and massage it gently on the abdomen daily for few months if you are having fibroid. This natural method is known to shrink fibroid.
- Banana flower is beneficial to reduce symptoms of uterine fibroid. It also helps to reduce its size. Eat boiled banana flower with one cup of curd or buttermilk.
- Patient suffering from uterine fibroid should avoid eating red meat. She should also avoid packaged and processed foods.
- Eat organically grown vegetables and fruits. Eat whole grains and avoid alcohol.
- Certain herbs such as dandelion root, ginger root, black cohosh root are also beneficial in reducing the size and symptoms of uterine fibroid.