A normal uterus is the size of a closed fist or the size of an orange. Under normal conditions, the size of the uterus does not change. The only time when a uterus changes size is during pregnancy. The uterus holds the fetus, and as the fetus grows, the uterus increases in size. There are certain conditions, however, that cause the uterus to become enlarged.
An enlarged uterus that is not the result of a pregnancy is more than just a false pregnancy bump. While the enlargement of the uterus may not cause any symptoms and may not be life threatening, it definitely signifies an underlying problem and it is essential to find out the cause of the enlargement and treat it as soon as possible. Listed below are some of the common causes for an enlarged uterus.
Various Causes Of Enlarged Uterus
Adenomyosis is a very common condition that affects middle-aged women and women who have had children (parous women). Adenomyosis is a condition wherein the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) breaks through the myometrium (muscular wall of the uterus). This condition is not life-threatening but can cause an enlarged uterus and associated problems such as heavy bleeding during periods, menstrual cramps and discomfort in the lower abdomen.
Fibroids are noncancerous, benign growths or tumors that affect one in every four women at some point in time. Fibroids are tumors of the muscular wall of the uterus. The uterus is designed to expand during pregnancy.
As the fetus grows, so does the uterus, to accommodate the growing fetus. When there is a fibroid present, the uterus responds to this fibroid and enlarges in size. This is how fibroids cause an enlarged uterus.
A very common cause for an enlarged uterus is endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer does not usually occur in fertile women or women who have regular periods. It is more common in women who have reached menopause. However, symptoms may be experienced around menopause. A pelvic examination to determine the size and position of the uterus and the other surrounding organs is done to rule out endometrial cancer. This is because an enlarged uterus is very often caused by this disease.
Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix and the lower part of the uterus. This cancer is deadly and causes the enlargement of the uterus.
When there are accompanying symptoms, a very thorough pelvic examination is conducted to determine the size of the uterus. If an enlarged uterus is detected, further tests are conducted to rule out cervical cancer.
There are certain contraceptives that cause the uterine wall to swell up or thicken. This in turn causes an enlarged uterus. Two contraceptives that are famously known to cause this condition are IUDs (intrauterine devices) and contraceptive pills. Once the intrauterine device is removed from the body, the swelling comes down and the uterus returns to its normal size. The same is the case with oral contraceptive pills.
Once a woman comes off the oral contraceptive pill, the uterus returns to normal within a few days. Given that an enlarged uterus can be caused due to a variety of diseases and conditions, it is very important that it is diagnosed and the cause is treated as soon as possible. While it may be the result of a very benign disease, it is necessary to rule out any dreaded underlying disease like cancer.