According to the National Institute of Health, it’s estimated that somewhere between 70% and 80% of all women will get fibroids at some point in their lives. Fibroids are in fact abnormal growths that develop in, on, and around the uterus and in some cases can make life pretty uncomfortable for someone living with the condition.
With so many women going on to develop fibroids we thought that it might be a good idea to give you the lowdown on some key fibroid facts that every woman should know. So let’s dive in and take a closer look…
Fact #1 – Less than 1 in 1000 fibroids are cancerous
Despite the fact that fibroids are tumors or growths, they are almost always benign. In fact, Women’s Health state that the chances of developing a cancerous fibroid (a leiomyosarcoma) is less than one in one thousand cases.
Fact # 2 – Fibroids can be symptomless
Not all women suffer after developing fibroids. Some figures state that around 75% of all fibroids cases are symptomless. However, in those women that do have symptoms, problems like painful periods with heavy bleeding, bladder pressure causing frequent urination and/or stomach pain and backache can make life very uncomfortable.
Fact #3 – Fibroids come in different shapes and sizes
Not all fibroids are the same. They can vary in size from pea-shaped right up to the size of a watermelon and in addition, they aren’t always ball or cluster shaped. Those that develop on the outer wall of the uterus, for instance, are usually identified by their narrow stem which supports a larger growth. These are known as pedunculated fibroids
Fact #4 – Fibroids are categorized based on location.
Fibroids are in fact a group of breakaway muscle cells and fibrous tissue that form a cluster or growth – kind of like a fibrous knot. This fibrous ball can form anywhere in and around the uterus. As such they are categorized by their location.
Submucosal fibroids, for example, are so-called because they grow just under the uterine lining. Subserosal fibroids extend from the uterine wall out into the pelvic cavity, while intramural fibroids sit between the muscles of the uterine wall. Finally, there are pedunculated fibroids which, as mentioned earlier, develop on the outer wall of the uterus.
Fact #5 – Fibroids affect more black woman aged between 30 and 40 than white women
Scientists have discovered that young black women aged between 30 and 40 are 2-3 times more likely to develop fibroids than a white woman of the same age. Unfortunately, to date, there are no definitive answers as to why this might be. One speculative reason could be a link to Vitamin D. According to research, African-American women typically and naturally produce less vitamin D than white women. This is believed to be an important risk factor in the development of uterine fibroids.
Fact #6 – The causes of fibroids remain unknown
Despite extensive research, experts still don’t know what causes fibrous growths to occur. Although it’s thought that factors such as;
- Past family history,
- An unbalanced diet (particularly one that is high in red meat)
- Early-onset of menstruation
- Frequent alcohol use and,
- A lack of vitamin D production
…may all be inextricably linked.
Fact #7 – Fibroids growth is pretty unpredictable
Fibroid growth is pretty unpredictable as it doesn’t follow a set pattern. In some people, for instance, fibroids can grow to a substantial size over a period of months, while in others they can take years to grow or remain the same size for a very long time. In other women, a fibroid may grow to the size of a small nodule and not get any bigger.
One thing that is known, however, is that fibroids have the ability to shrink on their own, particularly with the onset of the menopause. This may have something to do with the declining levels of estrogen during this time.
Fact #8 – A hysterectomy is not the only option for eradicating fibroids
In years gone by, a hysterectomy used to be the only option for treating and eradicating fibroids. However, advancements in both treatment techniques and technology mean that women can now treat fibroids using less drastic measures. Uterine fibroid embolization, for example, is a non-surgical pinhole treatment that decreases the size of the fibroid without needing to remove the uterus.
Other treatments include a myomectomy. This is a surgical procedure that carefully removes the fibroid or fibroids without the need to remove the uterus. Although not ideal in every case, a myomectomy may be a good choice for women who might want to conceive in the future.
So there you have it, 8 key facts about fibroids that every woman should really know!
If you do have fibroids and would like to consult with a specialist about what can be done, then come and talk to Dr. Akinwande and the team at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Treatment (MINT). We specialize in treating problematic fibroids and fibroid removal. So if you would like a second opinion or would like to talk about the options available, schedule an appointment today