Womens Health > Fibroid Tumors
Fibroids are nonmalignant tumors that grow in the uterus. They are generally benign. Fibroids vary in size, and can be as large as a grapefruit or
Fibroids can occasionally interfere with fertility and conception as well as result in miscarriages.
It is not known why fibroids occur. They affect about 40% of women, most of childbearing age. Doctors speculate that there is a connection between the hormone estrogen and fibroids. The idea is supported by documentation of fibroid shrinkage with the onset of menopause.
Women with fibroids often experience no symptoms, and are not even aware that they have fibroids until a gynecological exam identifies them. In these instances, a wait and watch approach is adopted. This approach advocates monitoring, but no proactive response.
For some women, fibroids can significantly impact quality of life. Sufferers report such complications as:
Very heavy and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding
Fatigue (due to iron deficiency)
Although these symptoms can be extremely bothersome, they are not life threatening. Many women have found relief with dietary changes and there are surgical alternatives when other approaches fail to yield the desired results. The most common among these is hysterectomy or the surgical removal of the uterus. This option should be carefully weighed with the benefits and long-term implications in mind. A related procedure, myomectomy, involves removal of the fibroids from the uterus. There is no guarantee that they will not grow back.
Another fairly recent option is fibroid embolization. This procedure involves introducing tiny grains of sand to cut off the blood supply to the fibroid. Over time, shrinkage occurs. Again, it is important to weigh
Generally, fibroids are not cause for great concern. If you have fibroids, it certainly would not hurt to limit or reduce caffeine and alcohol intake. It is also helpful to increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Finally, visit your doctor regularly to track any changes that may need to be addressed.