As you no doubt know, your uterus is a vital part of your reproductive system, playing a role in menstruation, fertility, and pregnancy. It consists of three layers, including the inner layer (also called the uterine lining) where the blood you shed during your menstrual cycle comes from.
From the moment puberty begins, this pear-shaped organ prepares to take on the role of having children, but that’s just the start. It stretches and grows to accommodate the child, it creates the placenta to feed the baby during pregnancy, and it’s even responsible for your ability to have a cervical orgasm.
There are also a number of conditions that can affect your uterus, among them are uterine fibroids. These fibroids can have no symptoms or can cause pain and several other unpleasant symptoms.
If you live in the Lake Mary, Florida, area and you’re struggling with pain associated with uterine fibroids or other reproductive conditions, board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Christopher Quinsey and our experienced staff can help you find relief.
To find out how to cope with this problem, let’s examine what uterine fibroids are, what causes them, and some tips on managing the symptoms.
What are uterine fibroids?
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop on the inside or outside of your uterus, and are also referred to as fibromas, myomas, uterine myomas, and leiomyomas. They are common enough that up to 80% of women get them by age 50, but many never realize they had them.
There are different types of uterine fibroids that appear in various parts of your uterus.
The most common type of fibroid is the intramural, which is located in the walls of your uterus and can stretch and grow inside there. Other types are:
- Subserosal, which forms on the outside, or serosa, and can grow quite large
- Pedunculated, which is the result of a subserosal fibroid developing a thin stem to support it
- Submucosal, which develops in the middle layer (myometrium) of your uterus and is less common than the other types
- Cervical, another rare type that develops in the cervix, which connects the uterus to your vagina
What causes uterine fibroids?
The exact cause of these fibroids is not clear, but many doctors speculate that they develop from a single stem cell that repeatedly divides in the smooth muscles of the uterine lining.
Common factors that increase your risk of fibroids include genetic changes in the smooth muscle, hormonal changes, various growth factors, and extracellular matrix (ECM), the material that makes cells adhere to each other.
Fibroids grow at different rates, can develop slowly or quickly, and can even go away on their own.
What are the best ways to treat uterine fibroids?
Here we provide some tips on how to cope with the symptoms of uterine fibroids:
There are links between your diet and your risk of fibroids. Certain foods and drinks may protect you from this condition. Increase your consumption of:
- Vitamin D
- Fruits and vegetables
- White beans
- Oily fish
- Green tea
Foods to avoid include red meats, rice, potatoes, alcohol, chips, sweets, and sugary drinks.
Stress can raise your blood pressure, which can affect fibroids, so reduce stress through relaxation, meditation, medications, and even using some of the dietary changes mentioned above.
Obesity is a known risk factor, so an increase in physical activity and exercise can help reduce your chances of developing fibroids and help you stay healthy overall.
Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your pelvic region, so not smoking can reduce your risk of dealing with this condition.
Deficiencies in vitamins A and D can increase the risk of uterine fibroids. You can ease fibroid symptoms with these and other supplements like magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B1, B6, and E.
Fibroids can be uncomfortable, but we have options to help you deal with them. Make an appointment with Dr. Quinsey and our medical team today. We can help you manage your symptoms and treat your uterine fibroids.