What Causes Uterine Fibroids?
While the science is not completely settled on what exactly causes or is behind the formation of uterine fibroids in human beings, there are certain factors that researchers believe play significant roles in triggering their growth or development.
In 50 percent of cases, patients will be found to have some genetic abnormality. In many instances, some erroneous translocation will be discovered on some chromosomes.
While we may not be completely certain as to what lies at the root cause of uterine fibroids, it has been clearly demonstrated that hormones play a large role in determining their growth or progression. While a woman is pregnant, they will see rapid growth due to the presence of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Should the patient use anti-hormone medication, the opposite will happen – the fibroids will shrink. Furthermore, fibroids will stop growing or begin shrinking once a patient reaches menopause, which is the point at which these hormones also cease being produced in the female body.
Testing and Diagnosis of Uterine Fibroids
In many cases, especially those whereby uterine fibroids do not present any noticeable symptoms for the patient, this condition will be discovered in a regular pelvic exam. This is a routine checkup carried out by gynecologists. While this checkup might determine the presence of a mass or lump on the uterus, further testing will have to be carried out to make a definite diagnosis.
These testing methods include:
Note: Upon learning that fibroids are a type of tumor, the foremost concern for many patients is whether the tumor is cancerous or might predispose them in some way to developing cancer. Fibroids are rarely cancerous, with the chances of such fibroids (leiomyosarcomas) arising at less than one in a thousand. Additionally, the presence of fibroids in no way increases a patient’s chances of developing any type of cancer.
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Nisha Bunke, MD, Sarah Lucas, MD, and Elliot DeYoung, MD are specialists who combine their experience and expertise to offer world-class vascular care.
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