Q & A with Dr. Rani Bhat
Where and why do fibroids grow?
What is fibroid uterus?
Uterine fibroids are benign non-cancer tumors that grows from the smooth muscle tissue of the uterus. They are also known as leiomyomas or myomas. Fibroids can present in different sizes (pea to melon size), shapes, and locations. Fibroids can cause uterine enlargement and or distort the shape of the uterus and sometime fibroid can also arise from the cervix (neck of the womb). Based on which part of the uterus the fibroid grow they have different names, such as if they grow from the lining of the uterus it called sub-mucosal, sub-serosal from outer surface of uterus and if fibroid originate within the wall of the uterus it is termed as intramural, sometimes fibroids can grow from the outer surface of the uterus and have stem-like structure called pedunculated fibroids. Sometimes these pedunculated fibroids get detached from the uterus and get blood supply from neighbouring structures and become parasitic fibroids. A woman may have only one fibroid or multiple and of varying sizes. A fibroid may remain the same size for a long time and can suddenly grow rapidly, or grow slowly over a number of years.
Who is at risk of developing fibroids?
Fibroids are commonly seen in women of reproductive age between 30–40 years, but can also been seen at any age. It is said that 1 in 5 women will have fibroids, but it is much more common in Afro-Caribbean.
Why do fibroids grow in the uterus?
Exact cause as to why fibroids grow is unknown. Fibroids are sensitive to female hormones mainly estrogen for growth, hence they tend to increase in size during reproductive age and shrinks after menopause when oestrogen levels decline. Some women could have inherited a specific gene which makes them at risk of developing fibroids. It has also been noted that lifestyle and reproductive factors influence the growth of fibroids.