What are fibroids? This article explains what they are and why they are dangerous if left untreated.

Fibroids occur in the womb/uterus. They are normally non-cancerous (benign) smooth muscle tumors. They are also known as leiomyoma, leiomyomata, or myoma.

Fibroids vary from the size of a small seed (1 mm) to that of a large grapefruit (more than 200mm). They resemble glassy knots, and in cross-section often have whorls that look similar to plastered ceilings. Fibroids normally happen in groups and rarely just individual, one time tumors. Fibroids don’t just grow inside the uterus, they can also grow in the uterus walls, or on the outer surface of the uterus. The main cause of hysterectomies is down to Fibroid tumors.

What causes fibroids?

Sometimes fibroids are genetic. You are more likely to develop fibroids if another woman in your family has already suffered from them. Another cause of fibroid development is down to having too much estradiol and too little progesterone. Estradiol is part of the Estrogen hormone family, that needs good levels of progesterone to calm it’s stimulating influence of the body. This hormonal imbalance happens to many women during their “change of life” (menopause) and the years leading up to it. These years are referred to as the Peri-menopause years. Most women go through this change anywhere from 35-50 years old.

During the peri-menopausal years a woman’s reproductive systems starts winding down and with it goes significant changes in hormone levels. This is when fibroids tend to develop.


Why are Fibroids dangerous?

All types of fibroid tumors are associated with decreased fertility because they can:

Compress the fallopian tubes, where egg and sperm meet

Interfere with the movement of sperm through the uterine cavity

Cause repeated miscarriages

Retard the growth of the fetus

Cause uterine inertia (failure to contract properly) during labour

Obstruct the birth canal

Cause hydronephrosis (dilation of the inside or collecting part of the kidney)

Cause premature labour

Increased estrogen production during pregnancy can result in fibroid enlargement. Degeneration of the fibroids during pregnancy may cause severe pain, so you may need to stop working earlier than you expected, and your recovery may take longer.

Fibroids increase the surface area of your uterus. More surface area means more endometrial lining to slough every month, and heavier blood loss. Having fibroids means you are not a good candidate for using a traditional copper IUD as birth control.



Understand more on Fibroids:

Fibroid Symptoms & diagnoses

Treating Fibroids

What is natural progesterone?

Progesterone treatment and side effects

 The information in this article has been taken with permission from the official Lawley booklet on Understanding Fibroids.