Types of Uterine Fibroids
Submucosal: grow in the innermost layer of the uterus
Intramural: grow in the middle layer of the uterus
Subserosal: grow in the outer wall of the uterus
Pedunculated: attached to a stalk either outside of the uterus or within the uterine cavity
Cervical: in the cervical tissue
Interligamentous: between the uterine broad ligaments
Estrogen and progesterone are at their highest levels during a woman’s childbearing years, this is why uterine fibroids are thought to develop during this time. Normally, after a woman goes through menopause her body produces lower levels of estrogen and progesterone causing the fibroids to begin to shrink and any associated symptoms, such as pain and pressure to subside.
Uterine fibroids are hormone dependent. They develop during the hormonally active years and decline in menopause. Fibroid tissue has a higher amount of estrogen and progesterone receptors. Fibroid tissue is hypersensitive to estrogen, but does not have the capacity to regulate estrogen response, this is why they can grow to become quite large. Other hormones play a role in the growth of uterine fibroids as well, including prolactin, parathyroid hormone, insulin growth factor, and pituitary growth hormone.
Fibroids are two to three times more likely to develop in African American women compared to any other ethnicity.
Factors that May Increase Fibroid Development
An increase in lifetime exposure to estrogen:
There are many factors that increase a woman’s lifetime exposure to estrogen. More than at any other time in history, women are exposed to more estrogen. This increased exposure can contribute to a wide variety of reproductive health problems including the development of uterine fibroids. The following factors increase a woman’s lifetime exposure to estrogen:
Early menarche – the longer a woman has her menstrual cycle, the longer estrogen levels are elevated
Fewer pregnancies – many women today are restricting how many children they are having or are not having children at all, which increases their total exposure to estrogen
High body fat content – body fat produces and stores estrogen; the more body fat a woman has the more estrogen
Exposure to xenoestrogens – plastics, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic hormones in both meat and dairy products, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) including oral contraceptives (birth control) containing synthetic estrogen
Poor estrogen metabolism – some women’s bodies have a harder time removing and metabolizing excess estrogen
In addition to exposure to estrogen the following factors may also play a role in the development of uterine fibroids:
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
While many women will never even know that they have uterine fibroids, because the condition often exhibits no symptoms, there are some women that will experience certain effects from the fibroid’s presence. Symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
A sensation of fullness or pressure in the abdominal area
Excessive bleeding during menstruation
Excessive length of menstruation
Extreme cramping during menstruation
Lower back pain
A frequent urge to urinate
Interference with implantation of the ovum
Compressing the fallopian tubes, preventing conception
Abnormal uterine blood flow, hindering movement of sperm to ova
Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)
Premature rupture of the membranes
Contributing to retained placenta after birth
A postpartum hemorrhage
An abnormal labor
Ovarian cysts are most common in women of childbearing years, but can rarely develop in postmenopausal women. A woman’s ovaries are about the size and shape of an almond. It is amazing that something so small and delicate can hold thousands of eggs at birth. It is also quite amazing that something so small can develop a cyst. Thankfully, there are natural remedies that can help the body to rid itself of the cysts naturally, without surgery.
Types of Ovarian Cysts
Functional Ovarian Cysts
A woman’s ovaries contain thousands of follicles that house immature eggs (ovum). During the menstrual cycle each month, as ovulation nears, a select number of follicles are signaled to grow (mature) for ovulation. An ovarian cyst that forms due to a malfunction in follicle maturation is known as a functional cyst. There are two types of functional cysts:
Follicular cyst: This happens when the follicle fails to rupture and release the egg at ovulation, instead it continues to grow, forming a cyst.
Corpus Luteum cyst: After ovulation, once the egg is released, the follicle changes to what is called the corpus luteum. The development of a corpus luteum cyst happens when the opening in the follicle where the egg was released seals off and then causes the corpus luteum to accumulate fluid and grow into a cyst.
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