Uterine Fibroids - OBGYN Livingston, NJ
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyomas or myomas, are noncancerous growths in the wall of the uterus. They usually develop during childbearing years and are almost always benign. They can range in size, from as small as an appleseed to as big as a grapefruit. Many women may develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lifetime and never have symptoms. Risk factors associated with uterine fibroids include age, family history, and eating habits, among other things.
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
Although most uterine fibroids will be asymptomatic, there are instances in which symptoms will occur. The most common signs and symptoms include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Painful periods
- Enlargement of the lower abdomen
- Frequent urination
- Pain during sex
- Complications during pregnancy and labor
Symptoms of uterine fibroids can be influenced by their size and location, as well as the number of fibroids present in the uterus.
Causes of Uterine Fibroids
There is no known cause of uterine fibroids by doctors, however researchers believe that there are multiple factors contributing to them. These factors include:
- Genetic changes – Many fibroids contain changes in specific genes that differ from those present in normal uterine muscle cells
- Hormones – Two hormones that stimulate the development of the uterine lining during menstruation, estrogen and progesterone, play a role in the growth of fibroids
- Additional growth factors – Insulin-like growth factor, which helps the body maintain tissues, may affect the growth of fibroids
- Extracellular Matrix – ECM is the substance that helps make cells stick together and is increased in fibroids. ECM also stores growth factors and causes biological changes in cells.
The growth patterns of uterine fibroids can vary – slowly or rapidly. Some fibroids remain the same size throughout a woman’s life. Uterine fibroids that were present during pregnancy may shrink or disappear after the baby’s birth, as the uterus goes back to its normal size.
Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
Since most women do not experience any symptoms with uterine fibroids, it is not always necessary to get treated. However, in cases where symptoms are present, there are solutions to help minimize them. Regardless of your situation, it is important to closely monitor uterine fibroids with your gynecologist. Talking with your doctor can help you decide what path to take in terms of treatment. They can range from a variety of medications to myomectomy surgery.
Gynecologist in Livingston, New Jersey
With 40 years working in the field, Dr. Quartell and his friendly staff are happy to assist with any of your gynecological needs. At our office in Livingston, New Jersey, we can help you determine whether you have uterine fibroids and what your options are for treatment. For more information please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!