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ARTICLE What are Uterine Fibroids?

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are muscular tumors that develop in the wall of the uterus. These fibroids can develop individually or there can be multiples in the uterus at one time. They can range in sizes from being as small as a seed or as large as a grapefruit. In most cases fibroids are not cancerous, but there have been rare incidents in which they were.

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Am I at risk?

There are five major factors that increase your risk for uterine fibroids:

  • As you get older fibroids become more common, especially from when you're in your 30s until you go through menopause.
  • If you have a family member with fibroids then you are at increased risk for developing them. If your mother had fibroids, then your risk for getting them is three times greater.
  • African-American women are at greater risk to get fibroids than their Caucasian counterparts.
  • Women who are overweight have an increased risk for developing fibroids.
  • If you eat a lot of red meat then you are placing yourself at higher risk for fibroids. However if you eat a diet rich in green vegetables you may be decreasing your risk for fibroids.

How do I know if I have uterine fibroids?

Although there aren't any direct symptoms experienced due to fibroids, there are several things that may suggest you do have fibroids. These include:

  • Unusually heavy bleeding or unusually painful periods
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain while having sex
  • Experiencing lower back pains

If you feel as if you may have fibroids consult your doctor, who can run several tests to determine if you do. Your doctor may perform an ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), x-ray, cat scan (CT), hysterosalpingogram, or sonohysterogram. All of these various methods of testing can produce a picture that will show whether or not you do have fibroids.