Enlarged Uterus Causes

Though development of uterine fibroids or ovarian cysts may cause enlargement of uterus, there are various serious medical conditions that figure in the list of enlarged uterus causes. Scroll down to learn about some of the most common causes of enlarged uterus.
The uterus, which is also referred to as the womb, is a hollow muscular organ that is located deep within the pelvic cavity, between the bladder and the rectum in females. When a woman is pregnant, the uterus enlarges in order to accommodate the growing embryo but shrinks back to its normal size gradually after delivery. While uterine enlargement is a normal consequence of pregnancy, various benign and malignant growths in the uterus can also cause an enlarged womb.

As women age, they may become susceptible to a large number of reproductive problems. Women who are menopausal are definitely at a greater risk of developing reproductive problems owing to hormonal imbalance. Medical help must be sought when women develop an enlarged uterus after the childbearing age. While sudden weight gain or an expanding waistline are some of the visible signs that may be attributed to the enlargement of the uterus, a host of distressing symptoms may be exhibited by women suffering from this condition. Scroll down to learn about the possible causes of enlarged uterus.

What Causes Enlargement of Uterus?

The nature of medical conditions that may be associated with the enlargement of uterus could be benign or malignant. Here's some information on the circumstances under which the uterus may swell up or enlarge.

Uterine Fibroids

Presence of uterine fibroids is one of the most common causes of enlarged uterus. Studies have revealed that around 40-45% of female population suffer from fibroids in the uterus at some point in life. Fibroids are described as non-cancerous growths of a woman's uterus. They mostly occur during the childbearing age. They may occur anywhere on the inside, outside or even within the uterus wall. Fibroids may develop as a single tumor or in groups. The size of the fibroids could be as small as a pea to as large as a melon.

Symptoms:
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain or pressure
  • Lower backache
Treatment:
When uterine fibroids are small and cause no discomfort, surgical intervention may not be required. If fibroids cause pain and discomfort, a surgical procedure called myomectomy may be used to remove such growths. In severe cases, hysterectomy (surgical removal of uterus) may be required to alleviate the symptoms.

Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled pockets or sacs that may develop either on the surface of an ovary or within an ovary. More often than not, ovarian cysts are benign or functional. However, in some unfortunate cases, the ovarian cysts rupture and cause serious complications. Ovarian cysts are of several types. Functional cysts refer to the cysts that develop during menstruation and include corpus luteum cysts, follicular cysts and hemorrhagic cysts. Endometriomas are cysts which develop in females suffering from endometriosis. A dermoid cyst is an abnormal cyst that may contain growths of body tissues. These are benign but can enlarge and become painful. Cystadenomas are benign growths that develop from ovarian tissue. These may enlarge thereby causing weight gain. Sometimes women may even develop polycystic-appearing ovaries. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition that is characterized by development of cysts on the ovary. This condition could also be responsible for causing an enlarged uterus.

Symptoms:
  • Pressure and pain in the abdomen
  • Backache
  • Difficulty in passing urine
  • Painful menstruation
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Breast tenderness
Treatment:
Most of the ovary cysts are not cancerous, hence they can be cured with the help of medications. To relieve pain one can have pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs. Hormonal contraception method can be used in which oral contraceptive pills are given to regulate the menstrual cycle. This further prevent the formation of any new cysts and shrinks the existing cyst.

Cancer of the Endometrium

Endometrium, which is commonly referred to as the uterine lining, is the mucous membrane that lines the uterus. Endometrial cancer or the cancer of the endometrium also figures in the list of causes for enlarged uterus. This is a type of cancer that starts in the layer of cells that form the uterine lining. An abnormal and uncontrolled cell division in the cells forming the glandular tissue in the uterine lining leads to endometrioid adenocarcinomas. This condition usually affects women who are over 50 years of age. Obesity, early onset of menstruation and late onset of menopause are believed to be risk factors for endometrial cancer. Hormonal imbalance, especially estrogen dominance, may also make women susceptible. Menopausal women who are on hormone replacement therapy or women undergoing treatment for breast cancer are also at an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer.

Symptoms:
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods or after menopause
Treatment:
Under such circumstances, enlarged uterus treatment would involve surgical removal of the uterus. This approach may also help in treating endometrial cancer.

Adenomyosis

The thickening of the uterus that takes place when the tissue that normally lines the uterus starts growing within the uterine muscular wall is medically referred to as adenomyosis. Adenomyosis is one of the most common enlarged uterus causes. This condition mostly occurs in young women who have had children. Women in their 30s, especially those who have undergone a cesarean section during childbirth or those who have had a uterine surgery are more likely to develop adenomyosis. Though this condition is generally benign, it is quite painful.

Symptoms
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Passage of blood clots during menstruation
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
Treatment:
It can be treated quite effectively with anti-inflammatory medicines and hormone therapy. In some serious cases of adenomyosis, hysterectomy may be required.

Other Causes

Menopause in some cases may lead to the enlargement of liver. This may be a result of hormonal fluctuation in which uterus mimcs pregnancy. Some contraceptive methods like birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs) can result in the thickening of the uterus wall which may further result in enlarged uterus. Sexual activities may also result in the enlargement of the uterus, but this condition lasts for sometime and the uterus comes back to its original size. Besides the aforementioned causes of enlarged uterus, conditions such as molar pregnancy and cancer of the cervix can also cause enlargement of uterus. Cervical fibrosis, Asherman's syndrome and congenital abnormalities involving the cervix, vagina or the uterus also figure in the list of swollen uterus causes.

The development of malignant uterine growths must be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Women must therefore seek medical help on experiencing enlarged uterus symptoms. Hormonal therapy, medication, total/partial hysterectomy, surgical procedures or alternative treatments can help in treating enlarged womb problems. Correct and timely diagnosis and treatment will certainly pave the way for quick recovery.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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