What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Every woman embodies a distinct combination of characteristics, talents, abilities, and physical features, but you might be surprised to know that three out of four women have the same thing in common: uterine fibroids. For those who are not aware, fibroids are also known as leiomyomas (myomas) and are benign tumors that grow in and on the uterus. They can go undetected, like silent intruders, and quietly coexist without ever causing one symptom, or they can unleash symptoms that are so debilitating that they disrupt her daily life, affecting both her career and time with family and friends.

Myomas come in a variety of sizes and can be tiny, like a grain of rice, or grow to be huge, like a pumpkin, and they can grow by themselves or in groups. It is not uncommon for women to have numerous tumors that are located in various parts of the uterus. The Atlanta Fibroid Center can help detect and treat these unwanted intruders.

“Get Your Happy Back! Be The Woman You Were Before Fibroids!”, Cynthia Bailey

What Makes Fibroids Grow In The Uterus?

No one knows what makes these non-cancerous growths develop, but researchers have identified some common indicators for women with elevated risk. Some of these indicators include:

  • Obesity
  • Deficient in vitamin D
  • Women who started their period very young
  • Exposure to excess estrogen
  • Family history
  • Ethnicity (African American women are disproportionately affected)

Researchers have discovered that fibroids grow in response to estrogen, which is one reason why women often discover they have fibroids during their first trimester of pregnancy. Many women do not understand that there are numerous personal care products and certain foods that mimic the estrogen that their body produces, which can affect the formation of and how large fibroids grow.

Classifications of Uterine Fibroids And How They May Affect You

Types of Uterine Fibroid Tumors

While these growths are not dangerous in themselves, they can produce some wicked symptoms that can be serious.   The symptoms that can manifest are directly related to their location in the uterus, and therefore they are put into categories according to where they grow. The three categories include:

Subserosal Fibroids
These tumors grow on the outside of the uterus and usually will not affect a woman’s normal menstrual pattern however, if they grow large, they can cause discomfort, pain, and pelvic pressure.  If located on the front of the uterus, a large myoma can apply pressure to organs located nearby, such as the bladder, and cause frequent trips to the bathroom. A large fibroid located on the back of the uterus can press on the nearby nerves and create back pain similar to sciatica.
Intramural Fibroids
These are the most common of the three types and form inside the muscular uterine wall. They can be numerous or grow large, and they can cause the abdomen to look and feel bloated as if she were pregnant.  This also can impact her menstruation cycle, causing it to last longer with a heavier flow or spotting between periods. Due to their location, they can cause pelvic pain, pressure, discomfort during sex, and lower back pain.  These types of fibroids can also cause reproductive challenges.
Submucosal Fibroids
While these are the least common uterine tumors, they can cause the biggest problems and grow right under the lining. They can create uncomfortable pressure, back and pelvic pain, long periods with a heavy flow, blood clots, anemia,  etc.  They can grow large enough to block the fallopian tubes, interfere with conception, or cause other fertility problems.
Pedunculated Fibroids
This is not an additional type, but a term that is used to describe how the fibroid is growing.  Some are attached directly to the uterus or embedded deep within the uterine wall.   Tumors that grow on a stalk or stem-like structure and extend away from the uterus are labeled as pedunculated. They can cause symptoms that are related to where they are growing but also carry the additional risk of sudden pain that requires emergency medical assistance if the tumor becomes twisted on its stem.

Types of uterine fibroids

In addition to causing pain and discomfort, these growths can indirectly contribute to other serious medical conditions, like anemia.  In some cases, they distort the shape of the uterus or interfere with a woman’s ability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to full term.

Where Do I Go For Fibroid Treatment?

Many women receive a fibroid diagnosis, and the first thing they ask is, “What are fibroids?” At the Atlanta Fibroid Center, we can help you get a clear picture of what you are dealing with and how your fibroids are affecting you. We can offer you a treatment that is 90% effective, can eliminate all of your fibroids, leaves your uterus unharmed, and does not require surgery. If you have been told you need surgery to treat your fibroids, you need to come talk with us today about uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). This non-surgical fibroid treatment is not performed by an OB/GYN but by an interventional radiologist like Doctors John Lipman and R. Mitchell Ermentrout at the Atlanta Fibroid Center.

At the Atlanta Fibroid Center, we can help you get a clear picture of what you are dealing with and how your fibroids are affecting you.  Set up a consultation with the expert fibroid fighters today and let us help eliminate pain and other undesirable symptoms so you can live life to the fullest.