Dr Shivraj Ingole Prof and Unit Head Interventional Radiology Grant Medical college and Sir J. J. Hospital Mumbai
What are uterine fibroids?
Fibroids are benign tumours of the uterus (womb). They are not cancerous and so are very unlikely to be a threat to life. Fibroids are however very common affecting about half of all women at some stage in their lives. Though most women with fibroids have no symptoms and may not even know they have them, a minority suffer very distressing symptoms.
Fibroids are made up of muscle and have a large supply of blood to them. No-one knows for sure what causes fibroids but they are certainly influenced by hormones and most likely to grow faster when oestrogen is highest in a woman’s middle life. They are rare in teenagers, most common in 30-50 years old and shrink naturally after the menopause.
Fibroids are much more common in black women than white women. Your chance of developing them is also increased if you are heavy, if other members of your family have been diagnosed with them, or if you have no children. Fibroids vary considerably in size and number; some may be the size of a marble others are like a large pumpkin.
Fibroids can affect a woman’s life very profoundly. Their affect and the effect of their treatment vary considerably from one patient to another. Although fibroids are a common problem, however many women have been affected by fibroids before you, your reaction physically and emotionally to the disease and its treatment is unique to you. Take time to assess all the options, talk to your doctors and make sure that you get the treatment that is right for you.