Pregnancy and fibroids

A pregnant woman often has to go for an ultrasound or pelvic exam. These exams are necessary for the physician to understand the condition of the woman’s baby and her uterus. Many women discovered, during these tests, the presence of uterine fibroids in their uterus. These growths, on or in the uterus, usually are harmless and does not create many difficulties. Sometimes, however, the uterine fibroids may create problem during the time of gestation, therefore it would be wise to know a few things about them.

Uterine Fibroids: What are they?

Uterine fibroids are big non-cancerous mounds that usually grow in or around the uterus and consist of uterine tissue cells. They can result in the distortion of the uterus, both size and shape wise. Fibroids can grow from a few cm to as large as 15 cm. They grow in masses, therefore if one has a single uterine fibroid, then it is normal that more are present. Fibroids are pretty common among women; around 50 – 80 % of all females carry at-least one kind of uterine fibroid. However, most women do not encounter any complications with fibroids, only around 20% of the women, who develops fibroids, are known to face complications. Around 10 – 30% of all pregnant women are diagnosed with uterine fibroids.

Types of Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are classified into three types depending on the position in the uterus where they develop.

  • Intramural: This kind of fibroids is the most typical of all and is known to grow inside the uterine walls.
  • Subserosal: This type grows on the exterior and usually has a large size due to inflammation. The most dangerous fact about this type is that it occasionally grows on a stalk and can spread into other organs.
  • Submucosal: This type of fibroids can develop inside the uterus itself and only accounts for 5% among all the other types of fibroids.

Who can get it?
Uterine fibroids can develop in any woman, however old she may be. When a physician examines a woman, they would most likely find a small uterine fibroid in the woman. However, some of them have the increased risk of developing fibroids. Women within the age of 20 to as old as 50 are most likely to be diagnosed with uterine fibroids. Apart from that, African descendant woman are more susceptible to developing fibroids.

The Causes
One may wonder about the reason behind growing fibroids to begin with. There is no certain reason for this medical condition. Genetic predisposition, in some woman, can be the consequence for developing fibroids. Other than that hormones can also lead to growing fibroids. Reproductive hormones such as progesterone and estrogen increase cell growth, and cause fibroids to grow. The hormonal influxes can lead to the development of fibroids in pregnant woman. However, after pregnancy the fibroids start to reduce in size as the hormonal influx subdues.

There are no side effects to fibroids in most women. Many of them are not even aware that they have developed fibroids before pregnancy. But large fibroids can cause several symptoms such as:

  • severe bleeding
  • extended periods
  • pressure or pain in the pelvic regions
  • discomfort during intercourse
  • leg or back pain
  • bloating or constipation

Complications during Pregnancy
The symptoms of fibroids do not necessarily show up during pregnancy. Some woman can experience some minor symptoms such as light spotting or pelvic pain, this is very common when someone goes through a twist in her fibroid while it was growing in its stalk. Most of the woman will not face any complication with the fetus anyhow. But the risk of miscarriage is increased slightly during pregnancy. Complications only arise when the fibroids grow very large.

Last updated on Sep 1st, 2010 and filed under Women's Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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