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Risk Factors, Symptoms and Diagnosis of Uterine Fibroids


Fibroids are muscular growths that develop in the uterus or womb, which can cause pain, problems with fertility, and heavy bleeding. Also called myomas, they can grow as a single tumor, appearing either larger than a grapefruit or smaller than a pea. Depending on the causes, uterine fibroids can grow quickly over a period of time or slowly over many years. They are non-cancerous, benign growths and they don’t increase your risk of getting cancer. However, they can cause great discomfort in women, and in some cases may lead to miscarriages. A majority of women with fibroids show no symptoms at all, which makes it very difficult to diagnose them early. Those who do, find it very difficult to live with the condition. If you suspect you might have developed uterine fibroids, visit an accomplished Bluebonnet OB/GYN for diagnosis and treatment to help manage the symptoms.

Risk Factors

There are numerous factors that increase the chances of a woman developing fibroids. They include age, family history, ethnic origin, obesity, and eating habits. Fibroids are much more common in women who are in their thirties and forties. However,  fibroids shrink after menopause. Additionally, if one of your family members has fibroids, then it’s likely that you’ll also develop them. A woman’s risk of growing fibroids is three times higher if her mother has them.

It has also been discovered that women of African-American origin are more likely to develop fibroids than their white counterparts. Obesity is another risk factor that contributes to fibroids. Women who are overweight are much more likely to develop fibroids, with the risk being two to three times higher than average. Lastly, eating lots of red meat, and ham has been linked with high chances of developing fibroids. To prevent this, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.


In many women, fibroids don’t show any symptoms. In cases where it does, a woman will experience painful periods and heavy bleeding which can cause anemia, a feeling of fullness in the lower stomach area or pelvic region. They will also experience enlargement of the lower abdomen, pain during sexual intercourse, frequent urination, lower back pain, and reproductive problems like infertility.

If the woman is pregnant, they might experience complications during the term or labor. The complications arise due to the fibroids dispositioning the baby, making it difficult for the mother to have a normal delivery. Fibroids could also cause placental abruption, where the placenta breaks away from the wall of the uterus before time. When this happens, the fetus does not get sufficient oxygen. This could lead to preterm delivery. A pregnant woman with fibroids is at a greater risk of undergoing a caesarian section.


Fibroids can be diagnosed during a regular pelvic exam to check your vagina, ovaries, and uterus. The doctor will feel the growths with his or her fingers as a mass or lump on the uterus. They will describe the size by comparing it to the size of the uterus would be at a certain stage of pregnancy. The doctor can also use fruits, nuts or a ball for comparison.

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will conduct an imaging test to create a “picture” of the inner parts of your body, without performing surgery. Examples of imaging tests include ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-rays, cat scans (CT), and sonohysterogram.