Fibroids are nothing other than non cancerous tumors in (and sometimes on) the uterus. They are also called myomas. When they grow, they can cause irregular and heavy bleeding, cramping, and pain. Some of the larger ones can make you look like you are pregnant.
The reason why these fibroids grow is unknown, although estrogen is known to make them grow. Info On Fibroids from the Australian Melbourne clinic might help to get another idea on what fibroids are. Fibroid types:
Submucosal fibroids protrude inwards into the uterus and may grow on stalks, sometimes through the cervix. Intramural fibroids are in the uterus muscle and will change the shape of the uterus. Subserosal fibroids can be of any kind of size and grow outwards (unlike the submucosal's inward growth) from the uterus. Another type of fibroid can grow on the cervix. A fibroid that grows outside of the cervix is called a fibroid polyp.
Most of the time, you will be a given NSAIDs or non steroidal drugs to help ease any cramping or problems you may encounter. The pill can also help to stop the growth of a fibroid. Because it grows off of estrogen, doctors will sometimes put you on what is known as a GnRH agonist/antagonist (Lupron, Zoladex, etc.) to stop the growth or even to shrink it for surgery.
Outstanding source sites:
I just have to put in a good word on Donna's outstanding site on fibroids. If you are looking for the best place out there on fibroids, this is the one to see. Fibroids and having to have a hysterectomy:
Fibroids don't mean an automatic hyst. Several websites talk about myomectomy (removal of the fibroid tumor and nothing else) and UAE or Uterine Artery Embolisation. There are more alternatives in gynecology than you have been led to believe. One ob/gyn wrote a book about it. This site and this site all talk about alternatives to having a hysterectomy for fibroid removal. Preventing fibroids:
There is an Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal article (1999;94:395-398) that says that "A diet high in red meat, low green vegetables and fruit may increase risk of uterine fibroids." I have not heard whether or not this is true. Resource URL's:
The Fibroid Corner
The Center for Uterine Fibroids
The Fibroid Uterine Treatment Center
doctors' comment on fibroids and surgery
Ethicon fibroid site
Myomata Uteri at InfertilityPhysician.com
Info On Fibroids
Obgyn.net fibroid info
Ob/Gyns' info on fibroids
A Guide for Women
A Fibroid FAQ
Biosphere Seeks FDA Approval To Use Microspheres For Uterine Fibroids
Leiomyomata uteri, genetic amniocentesis, and the risk of second-trimester spontaneous abortion
Radiofrequency Ablation Shows Promise As Fibroid Treatment