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An enlarged uterus is a uterus which is larger than normal. Some variations in size are to be expected as every human body is not identical, but if the uterus suddenly grows larger or if abdominal pain develops, it may be a sign that there is a medical problem which needs to be addressed. A gynecologist is usually the most suitable care provider to treat an enlarged uterus, although the gynecologist may also want to consult other medical specialists, such as an endocrinologist, to explore all possible causes for the enlargement.
The uterus is an elastic organ. It is designed to grow to accommodate a developing fetus, and to contract again after delivery, and it is capable of doing this through multiple pregnancies. When the uterus becomes enlarged, it can be a sign of a number of different problems.
One possible cause is uterine fibroids. Usually benign, fibroids are growths which appear in or on the uterine wall. They can cause the uterus to bulge and become enlarged to make room for them. As the fibroids grow, the uterus can begin to push on the bladder, which will cause abdominal pain. In some cases, it may be possible to palpate the uterus. Ultrasonography is usually used to learn more about what is going on inside the uterus, and in some cases, a doctor may recommend exploratory surgery.
Menopause can also be associated with uterine enlargement, and an enlarged uterus may not be viewed as a cause of concern when it is accompanied by other menopause symptoms. However, if the organ causes pain or discomfort, a doctor may recommend treatment. Complications from gynecological surgeries may lead to an enlarged uterus as well, and sometimes the uterus fails to contract properly after delivery, in which case it will remain enlarged instead of shrinking over time, and this will be observed during follow up appointments.
There are a number of treatments for for this condition. The first step in treatment is determining the cause, as this will play a role in deciding which treatment is best. Some options include surgery to correct a condition like fibroids or to remove the uterus altogether if a woman is not interested in having children, along with hormones which can be used to treat women in menopause. A gynecologist can discuss the options with the patient once the cause has been determined; the doctor may recommend a slow approach to treatment to see if less invasive measures will work before recommending more complex procedures.
One cause of an enlarged uterus is fibroids. Fibroids are non-cancerous tumor like growths inside the uterus that often disappear on their own. In some cases they cause problems including heavy menstrual bleeding, back pain, prolonged periods and more.