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It is very common for women to have heavy and painful periods or have a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen. Although, it may not sound very alarming these could be the symptoms of uterine fibroids. These are the most common types of benign tumours found in women. The fibroids are basically some tissues and muscle cells that grow within the uterus, outside the uterus, or along the wall of the uterus. The fibroids are usually benign and asymptomatic and do not require any treatment unless they cause problems.
Know the causes
Though the exact cause of fibroid formation is not known, it is believed that the female hormones estrogen and progesterone have a role to play in their formation. Fibroids are formed only when a woman is producing these hormones and they are not seen in women in non-reproductive age i.e. before starting of menses or after stoppage of menses (menopause). If fibroids are persisting even after menopause or especially if increasing in size then it is an alarming sign. Such a fibroid needs to be taken care of immediately.
What are the symptoms?
Fibroids often remain quiet for long periods of time. They cause nonspecific symptoms in the pelvis and abdomen including:
- Fullness in the abdomen
- Low back pain
- Irregular menstruation
- Cramping with menstruation
- Painful sex
- Increased urgency to urinate
- Anemia, leading to tiredness and weakness
- Infertility Diagnosing the fibroids
When these symptoms are recurrent, it is good to confirm the diagnosis. This can happen with a pelvic exam followed by ultrasound scanning to confirm the size and location of the fibroids. A blood test also may be done to confirm anemia, which is common due to heavy periods.
Management of fibroids can range from doing nothing to periodic monitoring to surgical removal.
- If pain and heavy bleeding are the only symptoms, then pain killers like ibuprofen should suffice for symptomatic relief. Anemia, if severe, may require iron supplementation.
- Embolization is an option which shrinks the fibroid, at the same time preserving the uterus. The blood flow to the fibroid is cut off, thereby preventing its further growth. It takes about 1 to 3 hours and requires some bed rest after the procedure. There could be some pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding, which will gradually subside. The fibroids may grow back, but the benefits of keeping the uterus are definitely there. This is suitable in case of single fibroid with specific blood supply.
- The next surgical option is myomectomy, where the portion of the uterus which contains the fibroid alone is removed. This is done in women who still wish to get pregnant and in women who would like to retain the uterus. This can also be achieved laparoscopically( key hole surgery). In such cases, fibroids are cut into small pieces and then removed from the body. This procedure should be done by a doctor specialised in advanced gynecological endoscopy as all this cutting should be done in a bag to avoid any spillage of cells inside the abdominal cavity. This procedure is known as Laparoscopic Myomectomy with In-bag Moecellation.
- In women who have crossed their pregnancy phase, hysterectomy or complete removal of the uterus is advised. In these women, the bleeding and pain may not have subsided even after years of treatment with hormones. The growing fibroids could be pressing on the adjacent organs, causing pressure. This is the only definitive treatment and should be done in women have completed their family and don’t desire to be pregnant.
- Myomectomy and hysterectomy may be done laparoscopically or with an open method depending on the overall health, the size and location of the fibroids in the uterus.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women about 1 in 8 women in the USA develop invasive breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer has increased with changes in lifestyle including smoking, drinking and loss of physical activity. The risk factors are age, ethnicity and family history cannot be changed. However, there are some risk factors that can definitely be acted upon to reduce the chances of developing breast cancer.
- Weight management: Obesity is one of the major risk factors for breast cancer and managing weight and a good body mass index will help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. This is especially important in women undergoing menopause.
- Reducing smoking: The benefits of quitting it are manifold and reducing the risk for breast cancer is one of them. This will, as a byproduct, also result in a host of other benefits including improved quality of life, reduced chances of heart disease, stroke, and other cancers.
- Physical activity: In addition to helping in weight management, this also helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. Ideal recommendation is 30 minutes of physical activity per day, plus strength training.
- Breastfeeding: This helps in reducing the risk of breast cancer. Prolonged feeding is shown to have a greater protective benefit.
- Hormone replacement therapy: When possible, limit the use of hormone replacement therapy for prolonged periods of time. Explore options of non-hormonal substitutes or use the least permissible or required dose. Be sure to get periodic check-ups when on hormone therapy.
- Reduce exposure to environmental pollution: Higher levels of pollutants are linked to a higher incidence of breast cancer. When possible, avoid getting exposure to environmental pollutants.
- Screening: If there is a strong family history or other risk factors, then screening can help detect breast cancer very early in the process. Recommended ages for mammography are as follows:
- If you are age 40 – 44: Go for annual mammograms after discussing risks and benefits with the doctor.
- If you are age 45 – 54: Go for annual mammogram.
- If you are age 55 or over: Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year. Self-breast exams are not sufficient. However, if being done, they can also be an input to an abnormality.
- Cautious use of birth control pills: Birth control pill usage to be discussed with your gynaecologist if you are above 35 years of age and smoke. The good news is that the risk associated with it disappears slowly after the pill is stopped.
These will help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, early detection, and improved prognosis.
My mother is 70 years old. As per MRI report, her spinal canal dimensions at intervertebral disc level for L4-5 is 0.14 (cross sectional area). Is surgery needed. Please let me know what further information is needed.
My dad was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. But there were no symptoms. They removed half kidney by surgery. Will there be any chances of spreading cancer cells to other body parts or will the cancer be back? What are the precautions to be taken?
I have had a limbo sacral spine MRI. Conclusion of result is "Mild annular disc bulge with superimposed broad based posterocentral disc protrusion and annular tear at L4-L5 level is causing indentation on thecal sac. No central canal or existing foramina stenosis or nerve root compression" can anybody tell is it worrisome.
I have a Acl tear in my left knee doctor advised for an operation should I go for it I am a athlete and 21 year old male.
Breast cancer begins when the cells that are present in the breast start to go out of control. These cells generally form a tumor which can be seen on mammogram or one can feel it as a lump. The tumor is threatening if the cells can grow into the tissues that surround it or spread to other areas of the body. Breast cancer happens mostly in ladies. Here are a few methods with which you can prevent breast cancer-
- Keep your weight in check: Maintaining a healthy weight is important for everyone although, it is easy to tune it out since it is said so often. Being overweight can expand the danger of a wide range of cancers, including breast cancer, particularly after menopause.
- Be physically active: Women who are physically active for almost or at least 30 minutes a day have a lower danger of breast cancer. Normal activity is additionally one of the ideal approaches to keep weight under control.
- Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables and Avoid Too Much Alcohol: A balanced and healthy diet can bring down the danger of breast cancer. Attempt to eat a considerable measure of fruits and vegetables and keep liquor at moderate levels or lower. While moderate drinking can be useful for the heart in most grown-ups, even low levels of intake can build the danger of breast cancer. If you do not drink, don't feel you have to begin. In case you drink modestly, there is less risk.
- Try not to Smoke: Smokers and non-smokers alike know how undesirable smoking is. It brings down a person’s quality of life and expands the danger of heart and lung diseases, stroke, and no less than 15 types of cancer, including breast cancer. It additionally causes bad breath, awful teeth, and wrinkles.
- Breastfeed, If Possible: Breastfeeding for almost one year or more brings down the danger of breast cancer. It additionally has extraordinary medical advantages for the baby as well, especially in terms of immunity.
- Keep away from Birth Control Pills: Contraceptive pills have both dangers and advantages. In many cases, the more young a lady is, the lower the danger is. While ladies are taking birth control pills, they have more chances of falling prey to breast cancer as per various medical studies. This danger leaves rapidly in the wake of stopping the pill. The danger of stroke and heart attack is increased while on the pill, especially if the woman smokes. Long term use can likewise have essential advantages, such as bringing down the danger of ovarian cancer, colon tumor and uterine cancer and undesirable pregnancy. In case you are exceptionally worried about breast cancer, staying away from birth control pills is also an alternative to lower the risk. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an oncologist and ask a free question.
If you are concerned about breast cancer, you should know about the steps you can take to prevent the condition. Breast cancer is a type of cancer developing from the breast tissue. Symptoms such as a lump in the breast, fluid flowing from the nipple, changes in the shape of the breast and occurrence of red scaly patches on the breast denote breast cancer.
You need to make certain lifestyle changes in order to prevent breast cancer. The ways you should adopt include the following:
Limit your alcohol intake: The more you consume alcohol, the more you put yourself at the risk of getting breast cancer. It is recommended for you not to drink more than one drink per day. Small amounts of alcohol increase the risk of breast cancer as well.
Abstain from smoking: There is a direct link between tobacco smoking and breast cancer, and the risk is even more in premenopausal women. You should quit smoking to reduce the risk of breast cancer along with many other conditions, which can develop because of the ill-effects of smoking.
Control your weight: Obese women are more prone to breast cancer when compared with women with a healthy weight. This is especially true when obesity occurs at a later stage in life, after menopause.
Keep physically active: Regular physical activity is essential for you to maintain a healthy weight, which is important for preventing breast cancer. 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises or 75 minutes of vigorous exercises are recommended along with strength training.
Breastfeed: Breastfeeding plays an important role in preventing breast cancer. The more you breastfeed your baby, the more protected you are from breast cancer.
Limit the dosage and duration of hormone therapy: If you undertake combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years, you are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. In case you are taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about alternative options such as non-hormonal therapy and medications. If you still require hormonal therapy, you must use the lowest dose that will be effective.
Avoid exposure to radiation and pollution: Certain medical imaging procedures like computerized tomography involves radiation of high doses. There is a link between breast cancer and radiation exposure. Thus, you should abstain from getting exposed to radiation and avoid taking such tests if it is not very urgent.
Maintaining a healthy diet also helps in reducing your risk of developing breast cancer. You should include food items which are plant based in your regular diet, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes. Also, consume healthy fats such as olive oil instead of red meat and butter. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult an oncologist.