What Are Fibroids?

Fibroids (also called uterine myoma) are noncancerous growths that can develop during a woman’s childbearing years. Though they aren’t dangerous, they can cause discomfort, especially during menstruation. Fibroids range in size from very tiny (undetectable to the human eye) to large masses that can distort the size and shape of the uterus. The symptoms of fibroids include:


  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
  • Pelvic pressure or pain
  • Constipation
  • Backache or leg pains
  • Frequent urination


What Causes Fibroids?

Doctors are unsure of what exactly causes fibroids, but several risk factors appear to be linked:


  • Genetics. Many fibroids contain genetic patterns that differ from those in normal uterine muscle cells. Family history also seems to play a role, which may point to genetic disposition as a possible cause.
  • Hormones. Estrogen and progesterone are two hormones that stimulate the development of the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle in preparation for pregnancy. These hormones seem to promote the growth of fibroids, as Fibroids contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine muscle cells do. It’s also important to note that Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause due to a decrease in hormone production, which further suggests a link between fibroid development and hormones.
  • Other Growth Factors. Insulin-like growth factor or other substances that help the body maintain tissues may affect fibroid growth.
  • Pregnancy. Because pregnancy increases your body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, fibroids may rapidly develop during pregnancy.


How to Treat Fibroids

Women suffering from uterine fibroids should be aware that there are many options for uterine fibroids treatment:


  • Natural Treatments. Acupuncture or even massage therapy can help relieve some of the discomfort associated with fibroids.
  •  Medications. Birth control or progestin-releasing IUD’s can be prescribed to shrink fibroids. OTC medications such as NSAIDs can also be taken to help control bleeding and pain.
  •  Surgery or Minimally Invasive Procedures. A myomectomy may be performed to remove fibroids. In some advanced cases where fibroids have been irresponsive to other treatments, a hysterectomy may be performed (however this would eliminate the possibility of ever bearing children in the future).


Women’s Physicians of Jacksonville

It’s important to schedule regular visits with your doctor to discuss any medical concerns and receive regular pelvic exams as a part of preventive care. At Women’s Physicians of Jacksonville, our focus is to provide all patients with a comprehensive state-of-the-art gynecologic and obstetrical care throughout every phase of life. As a division of North Florida Ob-Gyn, we specialize in delivering gynecological care in a warm and individualized environment to women across Northeast Florida. If you are experiencing fibroid symptoms and would like to learn more about uterine fibroids treatment, please contact us today.