A fibroid is a benign tumor of fibrous connective tissue. Fibroids develop when uncontrolled cell growth occurs for an unknown or sometimes known reason. Some of the known reasons are hormonal imbalance, intake of high fat foods, foods contaminated with pesticides or abnormal weight gain. Fibroids may form anywhere in the body and usually do not require specific treatment or surgical removal. It may occur in people of any age or sex, but are often seen in adults.
Fibroids may be of two types
* Soft Fibroids:
Soft fibroids or fibroma with a shaft consist of numerous loosely connected cells and less fibroid tissues. These usually appear in the regions like neck, armpits or groins, eyelid etc.
* Hard Fibroids:
Hard fibroids consist of many fibres and few cells unlike soft fibroids. These usually appear in the skin.
Women are more prone to site-specific type of fibroids called uterine fibroids. Depending upon the location of occurrence in the uterus its size and number may vary. Uterine fibroids often occur in women of child bearing age. In most women these are usually too small to cause any problem or even be noticed. It is extremely rare that fibroids become cancerous.
No one knows what causes uterine fibroids, but their growth seems to depend on estrogen, the female hormone. Occurrence of Fibroids is low in women in 20s, instead it is more common in 30s and 40s when estrogen levels are high and shrink after menopause when estrogen levels drop. A recent survey estimates that nearly 25 million women in India face this problem with fibroids and the reasons may be delayed pregnancy, obesity and increased consumption of red meat.
The prominent symptom of fibroids, in both genders is the appearance of a small tumor which may or may not be tender. Some tumors may be itchy and may cause irritation, sensitivity and pain may also occur in some cases. Color and size may also change over time. Because of its protruding nature it may get damaged and may bleed if the injury is severe.
Even though the symptoms mentioned above may be common in both genders, when it comes to uterine fibroids, there are certain specific symptoms which can be witnessed in women as follows:
— Heavy menstrual periods, sometimes clotty
— Unusual bleeding (between periods)
— Lengthy periods
— Increased frequency of urination
— Pelvic cramps/ severe pains
— Fullness or heaviness in lower abdomen
— Pain during intercourse
— Infertility (In rare cases, where fibroid is in a position disturbing child growth)
— During pregnancy-Bleeding, premature labor, miscarriage (in rare cases)