What Causes Fibroids To Grow? Which Risk Factors Might Predispose a Woman To Develop Uterine Fibroid Tumors? Are There Protective Factors That Might Reduce Fibroid Problems?
Researchers are uncertain exactly what causes fibroids to grow. Most medical professionals accept that each tumor develops from one mutant muscle cell in the uterus. This rogue cell experiences rapid multiplication under the influence of hormones, estrogen in particular. In time the aberrant cells then overproduce large amounts of collagen and other proteins. More gene mutations exist in fibroid cells that seem to alter the cell’s growth as well. There may be other environmental causes, yet undetermined, that can further stimulate fibroid growth.
Most women with uterine fibroids experience only minimal symptoms or, perhaps, none at all. In this situation the best treatment for fibroids could be watchful waiting (also known as “expectant management”).
With this approach, no active treatment is undertaken. During watchful waiting time, though, the woman does need periodic evaluation by her doctor. Followup visits should always include questions about any change in symptoms. Regular abdominal and pelvic examinations are necessary too. Any difference in size and/or number of fibroids may suggest the need to change a watchful waiting plan.
When Is the Best Treatment for Fibroids No Treatment at All?
Some fibroids will disappear on their own. Others cause only minimal symptoms, especially early on. In these cases watch-and-wait can be the best plan.
Many fibroid treatments come with the risk of significant or lasting side effects. Also a lengthy recovery time may be necessary for the more invasive procedures. As long as symptoms are not debilitating, it may be best just to wait and see what happens as time goes by.