Causes of Uterine Fibroids
You are probably wondering why your fibroids started growing in the first place. Well, there is no clear consensus as to why fibroids develop. Some women may simply have a genetic predisposition to growing fibroids.
Fibroids may also be the result of hormones. Reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone can stimulate cell growth, causing fibroids to form. During pregnancy, your influx of hormones may cause your fibroids to grow in size.
After pregnancy and during menopause most fibroids begin to shrink, due to a lack of hormones.
Symptoms of Fibroids
For the large majority of women, fibroids cause no symptoms or side effects. Many women don’t even know that they have uterine fibroids until they become pregnant. However, large fibroids may cause some uncomfortable symptoms.
Possible symptoms include:
- prolonged periods
- heavy bleeding
- pain during intercourse
- constipation or bloating
- pain in the legs or back
- pelvic pain or pressure
Complications of Fibroids During Pregnancy
Though fibroids tend to grow in size during pregnancy, it is unlikely that they will cause you any symptoms. Some pregnant women do experience minor symptoms, particularly pelvic pain and light spotting.
This is especially common if you experience fibroid torsion, when a fibroid growing on a stalk begins to twist. However, most pregnant women will not even know that the fibroids are there.
Most pregnant women who have fibroids will not experience any complications with their pregnancy either. However, fibroids during pregnancy do increase your risk of miscarriage or preterm labor slightly. Occasionally, complications can arise if your fibroids become very large.
Complications can include:
- postpartum hemorrhaging
- obstructed labor (if the fibroid grows into the birth canal)
- fetal malpresentations (sometimes fibroids grow into the uterus, forcing your baby into an unusual position)
- stalled labor
- cesarean section
During pregnancy, it is recommended that you not seek any treatment for your fibroids. Your health care provider will monitor the growth of your fibroids in order to anticipate any complications.
If you are experiencing pain, try lying down or using an ice pack to numb the area. Immediate treatment may be pursued if you begin to bleed profusely or experience severe pain.
After pregnancy, fibroids tend to shrink in size, and probably won’t cause you any problems. If you are still suffering from symptoms, treatments are available for fibroids.
- ablation of the fibroids
- surgery to remove the fibroids
- medications to shrink the fibroids