The uterus is the pear shaped hollow organ that is about the size of a lemon normally. Its muscular walls feature lining comprised of rich soft tissue that is known as endometrium. Every month for women of child bearing age, this uterine lining adds more layers in preparation for receiving a fertilized egg. When a fertilized egg is received, the uterine lining nourishes this egg in the uterus until childbirth.
When fertilization does not occur, this lining is broken down and discarded along with the unfertilized egg through the monthly menstrual cycle and the process repeated again each month until menopause.
Reproductive functions in the female bodies are regulated by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for regulating sex traits such as breast development, menstruation, ovulation, body hair growth, etc.
Progesterone on the other hand is needed in order to prepare the uterus for pregnancy in addition to enlarging the breasts of pregnant women as well as the production of milk after childbirth. These two hormones work together to control the menstrual cycle.
Since the uterus is so important for uterine fibroid development, the following discusses the types of fibroids that may develop in the uterine walls or out through the uterus.
Types of Fibroids
These are fibroids that develop on the outer wall of the uterus causing the uterus to grow in size in many cases. This type usually increases in size during the monthly menstrual cycle because the presence of increased blood flow allows the tumor to receive more nutrients for increased growth.
These types of tumors lead to pain during sexual intercourse, pain in the back, etc. These tumors can grow to a great size making it look like you are several weeks or months pregnant. The large size can cause the tumors to press upon nearby organs such as the bladder and bowels leading to constipation, frequent urination or inability to urinate.
These tumors develop inside the uterine cavity and can lead to severe and painful stomach cramps. The pains associated with this type of tumor are similar to those associated with childbirth due to this type of fibroid being located inside the uterus where a baby would normally be housed when pregnant. The uterus then cramps as it tries to “deliver” this tumor as it would when trying to deliver a baby. “An aborting submucous myoma” (tumor) occurs in some cases when the uterus “aborts” the tumor through the cervix and vagina leading to heavy bleeding and severe pain.
These types of fibroid tumors are responsible for heavy bleeding that may appear to be gushing and may also prolong the length of the menstrual cycle. Heavy bleeding may lead to symptoms of anemia resulting in dizziness and general weakness from all this heavy blood loss.
These are usually attached to the uterus with the help of a stalk. This type which may look like a big ball outside or inside the uterus may be confused with an ovarian cyst. This tumor may produce no symptoms at all. When symptoms are produced, they may range from severe pain when the tumor twists itself on its own stalk cutting off its blood supply to cramps leading to vomiting and nausea.
These are found within the uterine walls. When they grow towards the outside of the uterus, they usually produce uterine fibroids symptoms similar to the subserosal tumors discussed previously. If the fibroid grows towards the inside wall, the symptoms of uterine fibroids produced are similar to the submucosal tumors.