Certain factors, such as age, family history, ethnicity, obesity, and possibly eating habits, can increase a women’s risk of developing fibroids. For some reason, African American women are more likely to experience fibroids, and to do so at a younger age. Doctors put fibroids into three groups based on where they grow: submucosal (grow in the uterine cavity), intramural (grow within the wall of the uterus), and subserosal (grow on the outside of the uterus).
Fibroids are almost always non-cancerous. As many as 3 out of 4 women will develop fibroids sometime during their lives. Many women won’t experience symptoms, and their doctor may incidentally discover them during a pelvic exam. However, the location, size and number will influence the signs and symptoms a woman may experience. Here are some symptoms women may have:
- Heavy bleeding or painful periods
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Enlargement of the lower abdomen
- Frequent urination
- Painful intercourse
- Pressure in the lower back
July is Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month. There is no better time to raise awareness and get informed. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are unaware of what to do next – we suggest you read our fact sheet on “Uterine Fibroids.” Then discuss any relevant health concerns with your doctor.