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What are Uterine Fibroids?

What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the muscle tissue of the uterus. Fibroids can vary in size from tiny to very large, and may grow inside the uterus, on the outer service, or be attached to the uterus by a stem-like structure.

Who gets fibroids?

If you have a uterus, you can develop fibroids. Fibroids most commonly grow in women during their 30s or 40s, but they can occur at any age. Fibroids are more common in black women than white women. They can be hereditary.

What are they symptoms of fibroids?

Depending on the size, number, and location of the fibroids, symptoms can vary widely. Some women with fibroids have few if any symptoms, and some women have a LOT of trouble because of their fibroids. Some possible symptoms include:

- Longer and heavier menstrual periods

- Period pain (cramping)

- Anemia (low blood count, from excessive bleeding)

- Bleeding between periods

- Low back pain or abdominal pain

- Pain during sex

- Constipation

- Bloating

- Fertility challenges

 

How are fibroids diagnosed?

Fibroids are often detected during routine pelvic exam. Other tests, such as ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, or hysteroscopy can also detect fibroids, or they may be detected during surgery.

How are fibroids treated?

Treatment for fibroids is not always necessary; however, if fibroids are interfering with a woman’s quality of life, or if there are associated concerns such as fertility issues or concern about the possibility of cancer, then there are several treatment options available.

Can medication be used to treat fibroids?

Yes! There are several medication options to help reduce the heavy bleeding and pain that fibroids can sometimes cause. They may not prevent fibroids from growing larger, and surgery may still be required at some point. Drug treatment for fibroids include birth control pills and other hormonal therapies, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, or progestin-containing intrauterine devices (IUD).

What types of surgery are used to treat fibroids?

Myomectomy is surgery to remove fibroids while leaving the uterus in place. Fibroids do not regrow after they have been removed, but it is possible that new fibroids may develop.

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. If a hysterectomy is done for fibroids, the uterus and all the fibroids within the uterus are removed, and they will not return. A woman is no longer able to have pregnancies after having a hysterectomy.

Are there other treatments available for fibroids?

Hysteroscopy: If fibroids are protruding inside the cavity of the uterus, hysteroscopy can sometimes be used to identify them and remove them. Hysteroscopy involves inserting a small camera inside the uterus, and the surgeon can work through the small camera to remove the fibroid tissue.

Uterine artery embolization (UAE): In this procedure, tiny particles are injected into the blood vessels that lead to the uterus. The particles cut off the blood flow to the fibroid and cause it to shrink. This procedure is normally performed as an outpatient by an radiologist.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided ultrasound surgery: Ultrasound waves are used to destroy fibroids. The waves are directed at the fibroids through the skin with the help of magnetic resonance imaging.

 

Do you have questions about fibroids? All of us here at Premier OB-Gyn are happy to answer your questions and make you feel as comfortable as possible. Book your appointment today!

 

Premier OB-Gyn is accepting new patients in both our Maitland, FL and Oviedo, FL locations. We would be happy to see you! Please call 321-397-1212 or visit www.premierob-gyn.com to book your appointment!

Author
R Ellen Eye, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. R Ellen Eye, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. Rita Ellen Eye, MD is a board-certified OB/GYN physician who joined Premier OB-Gyn in 2014. Dr. Eye is originally from Potosi, Missouri, a small town near St. Louis (and she remains a loyal fan of the St. Louis Cardinals!). She graduated from her high school as Valedictorian. She attended Missouri University of Science and Technology, earning her Biological Sciences degree while graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2006. Dr. Eye went on to complete her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and was honored by being elected Chief Resident at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa. She began her successful private practice in Texas where she lived and worked for four years before moving to Florida. She is married to husband Chet and a proud mom to a sweet daughter named Faith. Dr. Eye is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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