Fibroids are growths that occur in the uterine lining during a woman’s reproductive years. Because estrogen triggers the growth of fibroids, they can start as early as puberty, and they begin to shrink once a woman reaches menopause. For younger women who are still within childbearing years, surgery might be an option, but for women approaching menopause, most doctors wait out the fibroids unless the pain is so severe that it interferes with a woman’s daily activities. For the most part, fibroids are completely harmless; however, in some cases they do have the potential to cause complications. Subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus and can expand to a point where they put pressure on other parts of the body. When they reach spinal nerves, they can cause back pain. Typically fibroids never grow to this point, but when they do, it is important to have them examined. They are not definitively linked to cancer, but they can present a host of other problems, including anemia (iron deficiency), infertility, and pregnancy complications.
Race, heredity, and obesity are three common factors linked to the susceptibility of developing fibroids. African-American women tend to suffer from fibroids more often than other races, but heredity also plays a part in determining risk – if there is a history of fibroids among the women in your family, chances are that you might develop them as well. Studies suggest that obesity carries a higher risk factor for fibroids than for women who are at a healthy weight.
Remedies and Treatments
Although it’s estimated that about 75% of women will have them at one point or another, they usually go unnoticed because they don’t cause problems. However, in other women, they can cause symptoms from irregular or heavy menstrual periods to sharp back pain. If you start to experience lower back pain that doesn’t seem to be linked to any strenuous physical activity, ask your doctor about the possibility of fibroids. These growths can be detected via ultrasound or MRI.
There are some natural remedies to ease your back pain, and there are also some medical remedies that a doctor can prescribe to alleviate back pain caused by fibroids. If they cause slight discomfort, the pain can be managed with medication and exercises until the fibroid shrinks in size. Heat therapy, either with a heating pad or a warm bath, can help to alleviate pain from fibroids. Also, some women go to chiropractors to help with their back pain, or they even turn to holistic methods including acupuncture and meditation.
For more severe cases, your doctor might recommend a myemectomy (fibroid removal) or even a hysterectomy if the fibroid is believed to be malignant. With any medical procedure, the least invasive methods are considered first; some physicians have begun to use laser treatment to shrink fibroids so that surgery is not necessary. Many women who have had myemectomies report that the results are immediate, but others might take a few weeks to notice a decrease in pain. The follow-up visits usually involve ultrasounds to ensure that no other fibroids have developed.
Rarely do fibroids cause symptoms, and when they are large enough to cause debilitating back pain, they should be examined by a medical professional. Your doctor can determine whether there is a natural way to manage your pain or if you should have the fibroids removed to prevent further complications.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011