Cobb Women’s Health
Many women experience uterine fibroids at one point in their life. Most women won’t even know that they have one as they don’t often cause any symptoms. However, they can grow in size and number and put pressure on the uterus. If you have uterine fibroids or suspect you might, call Cobb Women’s Health today to get in touch with an expert.
What happens if fibroids go untreated?
Uterine fibroids are not something that most of us enjoy talking about. Like a heavy menstrual cycle or urinary incontinence, fibroids can cause embarrassment and inconveniences, and worst of all, severe pain.
Chances are you have had or will experience uterine fibroids at some point during your life. These noncancerous tumors grow within the smooth muscle tissue of the uterus. The tumors are usually not dangerous and do not spread within the body, but some women experience several negative side effects. 70 percent of Caucasians and 80 percent of African Americans are diagnosed with fibroids by age 50. However, 5 to 10 percent suffer from side effects including infertility, heavy bleeding, pelvic and back pain and fullness in the abdomen.
Since 90 to 95 percent of women do not experience any symptoms, many decide to forgo treatment. There are some potential harmful side effects of leaving uterine fibroids untreated, however.
Harmful effects of ignoring uterine fibroids include:
- Continued growth of fibroids can cause pelvic pain and worsen abnormal bleeding and lead to anemia.
- Fibroids can negatively affect fertility. By blocking the fallopian tubes, fibroids can block a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus which can also lead to ectopic pregnancies.
- Pregnant women with fibroids have an increased risk for premature delivery.
How serious is a fibroid?
Although uterine fibroids are generally not dangerous, they can cause discomfort and may lead to complications such as a drop in red blood cells from heavy blood loss, which can cause fatigue. In rare cases, a transfusion is needed due to blood loss.
Fibroids usually don’t interfere with getting pregnant. However, it is possible that fibroids, especially submucosal fibroids, could cause infertility or loss of pregnancy.
Fibroids may also increase the risk of certain pregnancy complications, such as placental abruption, fetal growth restriction and preterm delivery.
If your tumor is very small or you’re going through menopause, you may not have any symptoms. Fibroids may shrink during and after menopause. This is because, during menopause, women experience a drop in levels of estrogen and progesterone, hormones that stimulate fibroid growth.
Symptoms of fibroids may include:
- heavy bleeding between or during your periods
- pain in the pelvis or lower back
- increased menstrual cramping
- increased urination
- pain during intercourse
- menstruation that lasts longer than usual
- pressure or fullness in your lower abdomen
- swelling or enlargement of the abdomen
Can fibroids burst?
According to research and case studies, the causes of a ruptured fibroid can include:
- An increase in blood pressure or abdominal pressure
- Twisting in a fibroid that has a stalk
- An injury that tears the fibroid from the uterus
- The fibroid growing too large for its current blood supply
Medical professionals don’t quite understand why ruptured fibroids occur since they have so few cases to examine.
If you are experiencing discomfort from uterine fibroids, or want to get examined for them, contact our office today to get in touch with a specialist. To book an appointment, call us or visit us online!