Uterine fibroids are masses that can vary in size from a pea to a melon, with signs ranging from no symptoms to heavy or painful periods, bleeding between periods, discomfort during intercourse, and lower back pain, to mention a few.
The majority of uterine fibroids are harmless. It’s reassuring to know that fibroids rarely become cancerous. But then that list of conditions isn’t trivial, and when you consider that almost all women will experience uterine fibroids at some point during their reproductive years — that’s a lot of pain for a lot of people for a long time!
Uterine Fibroids: What Causes Them?
Researchers believe that more than one factor could be at work. These elements could include:
- Hormonal (affected by levels of oestrogen and progesterone)
- Genetic (runs in families)
We don’t know what causes fibroids to grow or shrink because no one knows for certain. We do know that they are regulated by hormones, specifically oestrogen and progesterone. During pregnancy, when hormone levels go up, they grow at a rapid pace. The anti-hormone medication causes them to shrink. When a woman enters menopause, they also stop growing or shrink.
How do you know if fibroids are causing your period problems and other symptoms?
Here are six red flags:
- The menstrual flow rate is extremely high. Heavy flow is one of those symptoms that is frequently dismissed as “just bad luck,” but it can be a sign of fibroids.
- Periods that last longer than seven days. If your period lasts more than a week, you may believe (once again) that you got the short end of the menstrual stick. However, excessively long menstrual cycles can be an indication of fibroids.
- Feeling the need to pee all the time… but nothing comes out. You may not have considered this as a symptom of an underlying hormonal imbalance because having to pee a lot is a common occurrence. However, as you may have guessed, this can also be a sign of uterine fibroids.
- Pelvic ache or pressure. Another possible fibroids symptom.
- Constipation. Constipation can occur for a variety of reasons, many of which are unrelated to hormones, but if it occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, it may be related to uterine fibroids.
- Back pain and/or leg pain, Constipation, a sore back, and other aches may appear normal and unrelated to your endocrine system. However, in some cases, similar to constipation, this can be linked to fibroids.
Fibroids are frequently detected during a routine pelvic examination and confirmed with ultrasound. Consult a trusted healthcare practitioner if you suspect you have uterine fibroids.
Although uterine fibroids cannot be prevented, only a small percentage of these tumours require treatment. However, by adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as maintaining a healthy weight and eating fruits and vegetables, you may be able to reduce your fibroid risk. Furthermore, some studies suggest that using hormonal contraceptives may be associated with a reduced risk of fibroids.
A diagnosis of uterine fibroids at the doctor’s office usually means one thing: a prescription for the birth control pill. This is because most doctors regard the pill as a means of controlling the growth of fibroids as well as the symptoms you’re experiencing.
However, this “treatment” does not address uterine health long-term or treat the underlying cause of uterine fibroids. Indeed, hormonal birth control has a slew of side effects that exacerbate hormonal imbalances and fibroid growth. The most effective treatment is surgery.
According to some research, people who eat a diet high in red meat and energy-dense foods (foods high in calories, fat, and sugar) are more likely to develop fibroids. It may help replace red meat (beef, ham, or lamb) with white meat (chicken or turkey). Green tea contains antioxidant chemicals known as flavanols. Antioxidants aid in the prevention of cell damage in the body by lowering oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a major cause of disease.