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Uterine fibroids are referred to as benign, abnormal growths which tend to develop in the uterine walls of a woman. The size of such growths can range from a few centimeters to even excess of a few inches. As such, they can cause the uterus to increase to the size of a five month pregnancy. Although, the symptoms of fibroids are not always apparent, they often cause heavy bleeding and pain in women. A recent research concluded that around 60 to 75 percent women contract such fibroids by the age of 50, at least once in their life.
Depending on the site of formation, uterine fibroids are distinguished into different types. Intramural fibroids in the lining of the uterus and subserosal fibroids which develop outside the uterus are the most commonly observed fibroids.
What causes Uterine Fibroids?
Although, the exact reason for the formation of fibroids are obscure, medical professionals have determined certain factors that may affect their formation. Some of them are:
1) Hormones: Progesterone and estrogen, produced by the ovaries regenerate the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle and trigger the growth of fibroids.
2) Family history: If you have had a family history of uterine fibroids, then you're likely to develop the condition yourself as well.
3) Pregnancy: The production of progesterone and estrogen increases during pregnancy which increases the likelihood of fibroids.
What are the signs of the condition?
Depending on the location and size of the tumors, symptoms of such fibroids include:
1) Heavy bleeding and blood clots during periods
2) Pain in the pelvis
3) Frequent menstrual cramps
4) Pressure and pain in the lower abdomen
5) Swelling in the abdomen
6) Pain while intercourse
What is the procedure of the treatment?
Ultrasound and pelvic MRI are common diagnostic procedures to check for uterine fibroids. After diagnosis, depending on your age, size of the fibroid and your comprehensive health, the doctor would prescribe you with appropriate medications. Only after medications prove futile, doctors opt for minimally invasive surgeries. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Dear sir /madam, My recent whole spine MRI shows cervical discs are black colour less fluid which dehydrated and my ulnar nerve getting compression with numbness in little & ring finger Kindly suggest the best medicine for my problem Thanking in advance.
The uterus is a muscular structure held in place inside your pelvis with the help of muscles, ligaments, and tissues. These muscles weaken in women due to pregnancy, childbirth or delivery complications and can lead to severe complications. One such complication is a uterine prolapse. Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus sags or slips from its normal position into the vaginal canal.
The causes of uterine prolapse are varied and include:
- Delivering a large baby
- Difficulty in labor and delivery
- Reduction in estrogen levels post menopause
- Traumatic childbirth
- Loss or weakening of the pelvic muscle
- Conditions which lead to increased pressure in the abdominal area such as a chronic cough, straining, pelvic tumors or accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
- Loss of external support due to major surgery in pelvic area
Uterine prolapse can be complete or incomplete depending on how far the uterus sags into the vagina. Women who have minor uterine prolapse may not have any visible symptoms. However, if the condition worsens, it manifests itself in visible signs.
Symptoms of moderate or severe prolapse are:
1. A feeling of fullness or pressure in your pelvis when you sit
2. Seeing the uterus or cervix coming out of the vagina
3. Vaginal bleeding or increased discharge
4. Painful sexual intercourse
5. Recurrent bladder infections
6. Continuing back pain with difficulty in walking, urinating and moving your bowels
Without proper attention, the condition can cause impairments in the bowel, and can also affect bladder and sexual function. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.
Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
Here's what you should look for:
Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention:
Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
Step 2: now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
Step 3: while you're at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
Step 4: next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you've reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
Step 5: finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.
Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of the neck may become the reason behind severe neck pain. They sometimes take too much space and compress the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
Cancer is the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in a particular body part. With continued growth, pieces of this tissue travel through the blood to different body parts and continue to grow in the new area. This is known as metastases. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and affects about 1 in 8 women in the USA. Read on to know more details of breast cancer – breast anatomy, causes, symptoms, risk factors, detection, prevention, and of course treatment.
Anatomy: The main function of the breast is lactation through its milk-producing tissue that are connected to the nipple by narrow ducts. In addition, there is surrounding connective tissue, fibrous material, fat, nerves, blood vessels and lymphatic channels which complete the structure. This is essential to know as most breast cancers develop as small calcifications (hardened particles) in the ducts or as small lumps in the breast tissue which then continues to grow into cancer. The spread can happen through lymphatic or blood flow to other organs.
Warning signs/symptoms: The following are some symptoms that need to be watched out for if you have a predisposition to breast cancer.
- A lump in either of the breasts or armpits
- Change in size, shape, or contour of either breast
- Redness of your breast or nipple
- Discharge of clear or bloody fluid
- Thickening of breast tissue or skin that lasts through a period
- Altered look or feel of the skin on the breast or the nipple (dimpled, inflamed, scaly, or puckered)
- One area on the breast that looks very different from the other areas
- Hardened area under the breast skin
Either one or a combination of these should be an indication to get a detailed checkup done. Early diagnosis results in controlling the disease with minimal treatment and reduced complications.
Causes and risk factors: The exact cause for breast cancer is yet to be pinned down. However, risk factors are clearly identified, and women with risk factors need to watch out for warning signs.
- Family history: Of all the risk factors, the family history is the most important. Breast cancer runs in families, and if there is a first-degree relative with the breast cancer, the chances of developing it are almost double. Two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the carriers of the disease, and this testing can be done in women to identify if they are at risk.
- Family history of other cancers: Even if there is no breast cancer, if there are other cancers that run in the family, watch out.
- Age: Women over 50 are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Race: Caucasian and Jewish women are at higher risk of breast cancer than African-American women.
- Hormones: Greater exposure to the female hormone estrogen increases the chances of developing breast cancer. Women who use birth control pills for contraception and hormone replacement after menopause are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Gynecologic milestones: Women who have abnormal menstrual milestones need to watch out. These include those who attain menarche before 12 years of age, get pregnant after 30, attain menopause after 55, and have menstrual cycles shorter than 26 days or longer than 29 days.
- Obesity and alcohol abuse are also likely to increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.
Stages: Starting from stage 0, higher stages indicate advanced disease.
- Stage 0: The growth which has begun in the milk-producing tissue or the ducts has remained there (in situ) and not spread to any other area, including the rest of the breast.
- Stage I: The tissue slowly becomes invasive and has begun to affect the surrounding healthy tissue. It could have spread to the fatty breast tissue and some breast tissue may be found in the nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage II: The cancer at this stage grows considerably or spreads to other parts. There are chances that cancer may grow and also spread.
- Stage III: It may have spread to the bones or other organs but small amounts are present in up to 9 to 10 of the lymph nodes in the armpits and collar bones which makes it is difficult to fight.
- Stage IV: The cancer is widespread to far-flung areas like the liver, lungs, bones, and even the brain.
Screening: This is one of the most effective ways to identify the disease in its early stages. This will help in controlling cancer from spreading with minimal treatment.
- Self-examination: A thorough self-examination to look for changes in terms of shape, size, colour, contour, and firmness should be learned by all women. Watch for any discharge, sores, rashes, or swelling in the breasts, surrounding skin, and nipple. Examine them while standing and when lying down.
- In most women, annual screening mammograms are advised after the age of 40. However, in women who have a strong family history or genetic makeup, it is advisable to have screening mammograms starting at age 20 every 3 years and then annually from the age of 40.
- Women in high-risk categories should have screening mammograms every year and typically start at an earlier age.
- Ultrasound screening can also be given in addition to mammograms.
- Breast MRI is another way to screen for breast cancer if the risk is greater.
Breast Cancer Prevention: Now that there is so much awareness about causes and risk factors, there are definitely ways to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
- Exercise and a healthy diet with reduced amount of alcohol are definitely effective in minimising the chances of developing cancer.
- Tamoxifen is used in women who are at high risk for breast cancer.
- Evista (raloxifene) which is used to treat osteoporosis after menopause. It is also widely used in preventing breast cancer.
- In high-risk women, breasts are surgically removed to prevent the development of cancer (preventive mastectomy).
Treatment: As with all cancers, treatment would depend on the stage at which it is identified and include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. As noted earlier, if you are at risk, look out for warning signs as early diagnosis is the key to maximum recovery.
Of all cancer types that affect the female population, breast cancer is the most common one. Statistics show that above 1 in 8 women in the USA are likely to develop breast cancer (invasive type, which is often severe). Changing lifestyles including prolonged use of birth control, smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of physical activity, dietary changes, etc., have led to an increased incidence. As these are here to stay, the only way is to prevent.
The likelihood of developing breast cancer is determined by risk factors. Some of these risk factors cannot be changed. For instance, age, ethnicity, and history of familial breast cancer. However, there are others, which can be acted upon or modified to reduce the chances of developing breast cancer.
Some of the preventable risk factors are as follows:
- Nicotine abuse: Quitting smoking has multiple benefits for a woman, and one major benefit is the reduced risk of developing breast cancer. Other benefits include reduced incidence of diabetes, heart disease, and other cancers.
- Hormone replacement therapy: To the extent possible, avoid prolonged use of birth control pills or hormones for other treatment purposes. In addition to using non-hormonal methods, if not avoidable, constantly monitoring hormone levels is very important. Birth control pills should especially be avoided by women over 35 years of age who smoke. The risk associated with developing cancer reduces as soon as the hormone supplement is stopped.
- Weight Management: One of the major risk factors is obesity, and in people with other non-alterable risk factors, it is best to work on weight management from an early age. Talk to your doctor about your ideal BMI and ensure this is maintained.
- Physical Activity: Regular physical activity, at least 30 minutes per day, in addition to strength training will help in keeping the body agile and managing weight. It also reduces the risk of breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding: Studies have shown that breastfeeding has protective effect against breast cancer; longer a baby is breast fed, greater is the protective benefit.
- Screening: Even if not completely preventable, early detection of breast cancer is very important. This will help in less severe treatment and better prognosis. Recommended ages for mammography are as follows:
- In the age of 40 to 44, an annual mammogram is advised along with a discussion with the doctor on the risks.
- An annual mammogram for all women in the age of 45 – 54 is important as most women enter menopause by this time. This needs to be continued annually, as self-breast exams alone cannot detect cancer, thus it is a good practice and anything abnormal will not go undetected.
- These will help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, help in early detection, and improve prognosis.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Detecting a lump on your breasts can be stressful for any women. Breast cancer is a common type of cancer and is said to affect primarily affect women though 1% of breast cancer cases affect men. Breast cancer can be categorized into different types based on their capability to affect surrounding tissues.
The most common amongst these are:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ
- Invasive ductal carcinoma
- Invasive lobular carcinoma
Breast cancer is caused by mutations of a person’s DNA cells. This could be inherited from one’s parents or acquired by an unhealthy lifestyle. These DNA mutations cause cells in the breast tissue to multiply rapidly and turn cancerous. The risk factors for breast cancer can be categorized as modifiable and non-modifiable.
Modifiable risk factors:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of combined hormone therapy after menopause
- Lack of exercise
Non-modifiable risk factors:
- Family Medical History
- Personal Medical History
- Atypical hyperplasia
- Early start of menstruation cycle
- Presence of dense breast tissue
- Inherited genetic mutations
As with any other type of cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. In its early stages, breast cancer is not painful and has negligible symptoms. In most cases, it is detected only by finding a lump on the breast or through a mammography. This lump may also be present in the armpit or above the collar bone. Some of the other symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Nipple inversion
- Discharge from the nipples
- Changes in the colour and texture of skin covering the breast
Breast cancer has five stages beginning from 0 and going up to 4. This is based on the size of the tumour, involvement of lymph nodes and whether or not metastasis has occurred.
- Stage 0: At this stage, the tumour does not affect the lymph nodes and has not metastasized. Thus at this stage, it is noninvasive.
- Stage I: In this case the tumour is smaller than 2 cm in diameter and has not spread to any of the surrounding tissues.
- Stage II: In this stage, the cancerous tumours are still fairly small in size but also affect the surrounding lymph nodes.
- Stage III: These tumours are larger than 5 cm in diameter and involve the lymph nodes to a greater extent.
- Stage IV: This is also known as metastatic breast cancer. In this stage, the cancer cells metastasize to other parts of the body.
Surgery is the most preferred form of treatment for breast cancer. This may be combined with radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormone therapy depending on the stage and type of cancer, the patient's overall health, age and personal preferences.