What are the signs & symptoms of uterine fibroids after menopause?

Written by genevieve van wyden
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Fibroid tumours, which are generally noncancerous growths in and/or around the uterus, can still cause significant issues for a woman's health after menopause; her general, as well as gynaecological, health can be affected. Fibroid tumours, although bothersome, are usually not dangerous.

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Pain

Fibroid tumours can cause pelvic pain and pain during intercourse. Depending on the location of a tumour, bowel movements can become painful as well. A woman with fibroid tumour(s) can suffer from lower back pain, possibly due to the pressure on internal organs and the placement of the tumour(s).

Urinary Symptoms

Women with fibroid tumours which attach themselves to the uterine wall near the bladder may experience urinary problems; these can include difficulty in urination or more frequent urination. This happens because the fibroid tumour, as it grows larger, begins to press on the bladder.

After Menopause

An important point to make is that fibroid tumours grow most rapidly during a woman's reproductive years, because she produces oestrogen. After menopause, women can experience a shrinkage of their fibroid tumours. Menopause means that the reproductive hormones, including oestrogen, are decreasing; because fibroid tumours thrive on oestrogen, this means the tumours will decrease in size.

Risk of Cancer

It is very rare that fibroid tumours will become cancerous. It is still a very prudent idea for the woman and her gynecologist to keep a close eye on the fibroid(s) and make sure this change does not take place. Most tumours develop from a single smooth muscle cell (monoclonal, or coming from a single clone).

Women at Higher Risk

Uterine fibroids happen in approximately 70 per cent of women before age 45; approximately 25 per cent of white women and 50 per cent of black women develop symptoms that indicate the presence of fibroids. Women with a high body mass index are more likely to develop uterine fibroids; however, women who have given birth and who smoke cigarettes seem to have protective factors, and they are less likely to develop uterine fibroids.

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