Relationship Between Breast & Uterine Fibroids

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Fibroids are firm compact tumors that are made of muscle cells. Fibroids can develop in the uterus, in which case they are called uterine fibroids, and the breast. Breast and uterine fibroids are caused by similar issues. However, because they occur in different parts of the body, they cause different symptoms and need to be treated in different ways. Uterine fibroids do not cause breast fibroids, and nor do breast fibroids cause uterine fibroids.

Causes

  • According to the University of Maryland Medical Center and Women's Health, both uterine and breast fibroids are thought to occur because of raised levels of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen stimulates the cells in the breast and the muscle walls of the uterus and sometimes causes them to multiply and grow more than is necessary. In the case of breast fibroids, the hormones produced by the glandular and fat cells in the breast may also contribute to the development of fibroids.

Symptoms

  • Uterine fibroids cause a number of symptoms, including heavy menstruation, bleeding between periods, pain during intercourse, pelvic pain and increased urination. Breast fibroids can cause irregularly shaped sections of the breast that are tender to the touch, a change of nipple sensation as well as itching, a dull ache or severe pain.

Risks

  • The bleeding between periods that may be caused by uterine fibroids can also lead to iron deficiency anemia. This is a serious condition that needs medical attention. Ohio State Medical Center states that 99 percent of uterine fibroids are not cancerous and will not lead to cancer of the uterus. However, there may be a correlation between uterine fibroids and infertility. Breast fibroids can cause breast cancer as the cells that make up the fibroid do not respond correctly to commands from the body concerning growth and multiplication.

Treatment

  • Uterine fibroids are treated by a hysterectomy (or complete surgical removal of the uterus), myomectomy (or surgical removal of the fibroids while leaving the uterus intact), uterine fibroid embolization (in which a tube is inserted into the artery that supplies blood to the fibroid to shrink it) and drugs to lower estrogen and relieve pain such as progestin. Breast fibroids are treated by taking oral contraceptives to lower estrogen levels, and if the fibroids refuse to shrink, surgery to remove the fibroids, keeping the breast intact.

Considerations

  • Uterine and breast fibroids are related to each other in that they are caused by the same problems. However, neither conditions causes the other to occur, though it is possible to suffer from both at the same time. If you exhibit the symptoms of either or both conditions, you should contact your doctor immediately.

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References

  • Photo Credit woman image by Svetlana Kashkina from Fotolia.com
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