If you are suffering from a menstrual disorder like severe cramps, excessive bleeding, skipped or infrequent periods, pelvic pain, low back pain, or frequent urination, uterine fibroids could be causing your symptoms. Fibroids are firm tumors that can develop in the uterus from an abnormal muscle cell. They are relatively common among women, with some estimates stating that 33 percent to 77 percent of women will develop fibroids sometime during their childbearing years.
Don’t Panic, Uterine Fibroids Are Not Linked to Cancer
Though the idea of a tumor in your uterus can be alarming, there is no known link between uterine fibroids and uterine cancer. In over 99 percent of diagnosed fibroid cases, the tumors are not cancerous. Most fibroids do not cause any symptoms.
What Causes Uterine Fibroids?
The cause of uterine fibroids is not known. It is believed that each tumor develops from an abnormal muscle cell in the uterus that multiples rapidly due to the effect of estrogen.
There are certain factors that put women at an increased risk of developing uterine fibroids, including:
Being of childbearing age
High blood pressure
Eating a diet high in red meat
A family history of fibroids
African American ethnicity
Diagnosing Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids are often discovered during routine pelvic exams. During the abdominal exam, your healthcare provider may feel an irregular mass that could be as small as a pea or up to the size of a softball. Other tests, like an x-ray, ultrasound, MRI, biopsy, or blood test, may be ordered to gather more information.