Fibroids Q & A
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyomas or myomas, are benign growths in your uterine tissue. They can range in size from microscopic seedlings to bulky growths that displace healthy reproductive tissue. Women can have one fibroid or many, and they can change in size.
Most women will have at least one uterine fibroid during their lifetime, but many won’t ever be aware of the unusual growths. Others will experience symptoms that require treatment.
Do I have uterine fibroids?
The following symptoms can indicate the presence of uterine fibroids:
- Abnormally heavy periods
- Periods lasting more than a week
- Frequent urination
- Pain in your back or legs
- Pelvic pain
- Trouble fully emptying your bladder
Because these symptoms can also indicate several other gynecology issues, it’s important to seek care at Unified Premier Women’s Care if you notice any changes in your menstrual cycle, pain level, or urinary function.
How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?
Your gynecologist selects diagnostic tools based on your specific symptoms and health history. A pelvic exam is always the first step, and an ultrasound often follows.
Blood testing can help rule out other conditions that could cause abnormal bleeding. Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, can reveal the location and size of uterine fibroids. Hysterosonography, or a saline infusion sonogram, can display images of submucosal fibroids.
A hysteroscopy is another diagnostic option. It uses an incredibly small lighted telescope to examine the interior tissues of your uterus and the opening of your fallopian tubes.
What are some treatment options for uterine fibroids?
There are many treatment options available for uterine fibroids, including:
Certain medications can adjust your hormone levels, slowing the growth of fibroids or shrinking their size. Some medications may help ease menstrual bleeding, while others induce a temporary state of postmenopause to reduce fibroid growth.
Uterine artery embolization
This option injects tiny particles into your uterus to block blood flow to fibroids. Without that blood flow, fibroids will shrink and die.
This treatment uses radiofrequency energy to destroy fibroid tissue and shrink connected blood vessels. Cryomyolysis uses cold temperatures to achieve the same results.
This minimally invasive procedure surgically removes fibroids, sometimes with robotic assistance. If your fibroids are inside your uterus, surgical removal can occur through your vagina and cervix, without the need for incisions.
Uterine fibroids can return after these procedures, so it’s important to schedule routine well woman exams. In the most advanced cases, hysterectomy is an effective means of permanently eliminating uterine fibroids.
Your Unified Premier Women’s Care specialist can guide you in choosing a treatment plan that’s best for you, so book your appointment today to begin a path toward relief.