Uterine Fibroids Q&A
What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are known as myomas or leiomyomas, and they aren’t cancerous. Fibroids usually appear during a woman’s childbearing years and can range in size from tiny seeds to large masses that distort the uterus. You can have multiple fibroids or just one.
Why women develop fibroids is unknown, but having a family history of fibroids, being obese or overweight, and eating a diet rich in red meat can be risk factors.
What are the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?
In most cases, fibroids do not cause symptoms. But when they do become bothersome and cause symptoms, they may include:
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Lower back pain
- Frequent urination
- Enlargement of the lower abdomen
- A feeling of fullness in the pelvic area or lower stomach
- Heavy bleeding during menstruation
In rare cases, fibroids can interfere with fertility and pregnancy and labor.
How are Fibroids Discovered?
If you have symptoms associated with fibroids, Dr. Anthony and Dr. Chua may perform an ultrasound or other imaging tests to check for them. They may also perform laparoscopy, which involves inserting a long, thin scope into an incision in your navel. The scope is equipped with a camera to view the uterus.
Another minimally invasive procedure called a hysteroscopy, which involves inserting a scope through the vagina and cervix to view the uterus, may be used to diagnose fibroids.
In some cases, fibroids are detected during a regular pelvic exam or discovered during an ultrasound.
How are Fibroids Treated?
If you have symptomless fibroids, there’s no need to have them treated. But if you’re feeling the effects of fibroids, Dr. Anthony and Dr. Chua may recommend several options. These include:
- Medications, such as over-the-counter drugs or low-dose birth control pills to slow the growth
- Myomectomy, which is surgery to remove fibroids without taking any uterine tissue
- Hysterectomy, which is surgery to remove the entire uterus
- Endometrial ablation with NovaSure®, which involves removing or destroying the lining of your uterus
Other treatments, including the freezing of fibroid tissue and fibroid embolization to destroy the blood supply to the growths, are possible. Some fibroids are removed with the minimally invasive Symphion™ System that uses radiofrequency energy.
Dr. Anthony and Dr. Chua help you determine what is the best strategy to treat your fibroids, depending on their size, your symptoms, and your reproductive goals.
To learn more about fibroid evaluation and treatment, call Suburban Women’s Specialists or book an appointment online.