Uterine fibroids affect countless women in the U.S. By the age of 50, 80% of African-American women and 70% of Caucasian women will have uterine fibroids. A uterine fibroids diagnosis can be overwhelming, that’s why we’ve compiled information to answer questions you may have about fibroids.

1.  What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids, also called leiomyomas or myomas, are noncancerous growths in the uterus that appear during childbearing years. They are not associated with higher risks of cancer.

2.  What are symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Symptoms of uterine fibroids can be influenced by the location, size, and the number of fibroids. Many women with uterine fibroids do not have any symptoms. However, for those women who do have symptoms, some of the common symptoms are:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
  • Pelvic pressure or pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Backache or leg pains

3.  Who are at risk of uterine fibroids?
There are several factors at play that may influence the development of uterine fibroids.

  • Age: As women age, usually during the 30s and 40s, fibroids are more common.
  • Ethnic origin: African-American women are more likely to develop uterine fibroids than women of other ethnicities.
  • Heredity: Having a family member with a history of uterine fibroids can increase the risk of developing fibroids up to three times more than the average women.
  • Obesity: Being overweight can increase the risk of developing fibroids. According to UCLA Health, very heavy women have a two to three times greater risk than the average women of developing fibroids.
  • Eating habits: Eating green vegetables seems to protect women from developing fibroids; on the other hand, those who eat a lot of red meat are at a higher risk.
  • Environmental factors: A vitamin D deficiency and drinking alcohol may seem to increase the risk of developing uterine fibroids.

4.  How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?

Uterine fibroids are usually found during a routine pelvic exam. If your doctor feels any irregularities, he/she may order an ultrasound or lab tests.

The exact causes of why uterine fibroids develop are not yet known. However, to further understand the causes and potential new treatments for uterine fibroids, physicians at Women’s Health Care Research are conducting clinical trials and are seeking volunteers to evaluate whether an investigational medicine could reduce the amount of heavy menstrual bleeding due to uterine fibroids.  If you are eligible to participate in a study, you may receive study-related medication and study-related care at no cost to you.  Compensation may also be available for time and transportation.

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