FBW Health: The Difference Between Uterine Fibroids and Endometriosis*

As we enter our 40’s many of us find ourselves dealing with longer, heavier and more painful menstrual cycles, along with a host of other symptoms we may not have experienced before. While some of these issues are just common results of the aging process, you may find yourself dealing with an actual medical condition. There are many conditions that can affect the menstruation process, but Endometriosis and Uterine Fibroids are two of the most common.

Although there are now non-surgical treatments for these conditions, Endometriosis and Uterine Fibroids are the most common reason for hysterectomies (surgical removal of all or part of the uterus) in women. Hysterectomy is the most common non-pregnancy-related major surgery performed on women in the United States. One in three women will have a hysterectomy by age 60¹.

While both conditions have similar symptoms, and it is possible to suffer from both Endometriosis and Uterine Fibroids at the same time, there are some key differences. Of course, you will need to visit your gynecologist and be tested in order to receive a conclusive diagnosis.

Uterine Fibroids
Uterine Fibroids are (usually) benign tumors that grow within the muscles of the uterus. These growths may cause no symptoms at all for some women, but for others, they may cause painful, prolonged periods, abnormal bleeding and infertility. The tumors can vary in size, from the diameter of a pea, to that of a grapefruit, often causing abdominal bloating or swelling.

The treatment of uterine fibroids was, at one time, limited to either a hysterectomy, or a myomectomy (the removal of tumors via surgery). Today, there are less invasive options. For instance, UFE (Uterine Fibroid Embolization) is a process by which the blood supply to the tumors is blocked during a non-surgical procedure, which eventually causes the tumor to die, lessening symptoms considerably, or causing them to disappear altogether².

Endometriosis
Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue (which is the inside lining of the uterus), begins to grow outside of the uterus and on nearby organs. This condition may cause painful menstrual periods, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and loss of fertility³. The continued swelling and bleeding of the endometrial tissue, with no release for the excess, results in the formation of scar tissue that builds monthly and forms cysts that can affect the organs they are attached to; the fallopian tubes, bladder, lungs, ovaries, etc. Treatment for Endometriosis can include; laparoscopic surgery, over-the-counter medication and/or hormone therapy.

While estrogen is believed to be the cause of these conditions (at least, in part), doctors are unsure of exactly how and why they develop. Other contributing factors may be environmental toxins, diet and possibly underlying medical conditions. Along with adjusting diet and exercise regimens to combat symptoms, there are now also a variety of natural remedies and therapies available to obtain relief. Below is a list of symptoms of both Endometriosis Uterine Fibroids. Be sure to visit your gynecologist for an exam and testing if you realize you are experiencing them.

 

 

 

*DISCLAIMER:
This post is in no way intended to be diagnostic, or to provide medical advice, and is strictly informative. Please consult with a physician if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

¹ https://observer.com/2017/06/
² https://www.usafibroidcenters.com
³https://observer.com/2017/06

 

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