What Are Fibroids, Exactly?

The word fibroid is often tossed about in discussions with your girlfriends, co-workers or maybe even your sister or your mom. If you have been lucky enough to never have a fibroid, you might only listen to the discussion with one ear…after all, it doesn’t concern you. But maybe you should listen up, because fibroids are very common in women, especially once they hit the big 3-0. Being aware of what the symptoms are may save you or someone close to you from some anxiety in the future, because you are educated!

A fibroid is simply a tissue substance in the uterus that is made up of muscle, fatty particles and uterus lining. While normally they are very harmless, the symptoms might scare you. Having fibroids in the uterus will often make a woman have heavy or irregular bleeding during her periods, which can send many a woman in to a panic.

There can be a single troublesome fibroid in the uterus or there could be dozens. There isn’t any rhyme or reason to how many develop, or really even why the fibroids develop. Some experts point to hormones being the culprit, with a little bit of heredity thrown in and a bit of lifestyle as the cause for fibroids. Regardless of how many you have, it is something that needs to be taken care of so it doesn’t get worse or cause you a lot of symptoms.

The symptoms of fibroids include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding (which is not normally part of your cycle)
  • Spotting between periods
  • Cramping
  • Bleeding that is continuous for weeks
  • Pressure to urinate frequently
  • Pelvic pain

For some women, there are no symptoms and they don’t find out they have fibroids until their yearly visit to the gynecologist. Fibroids can be sneaky little things! If a doctor does suspect you have fibroids, they might also perform an MRI or an ultrasound to see exactly how big they are, how many there are and where they are located.

Depending on where your fibroid(s) is or how many you have will determine the course of action taken by the doctor. The doctor might need to surgically remove them if they are large or in a spot where they could grow larger and press on your organs, etc. In severe cases, where the fibroids continually grow back or cause a lot of painful symptoms, a hysterectomy might be performed.

If the fibroids aren’t causing any symptoms, the doctor might just let you go with no treatment besides a checkup in a few months to see if they have dissolved. Many fibroids will just go away on their own, with no surgery or treatment. Often times, women will get fibroids and they will dissolve and never even be discovered – they are that common.

If you are having one or multiple of the symptoms above, be sure to have the doctor check it out. The doctor can confirm or deny the presence of fibroids or see if there is another, underlying condition behind the symptoms. Don’t be afraid to see your doctor, even if you are bleeding! It’s what they do for a living!

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