More than 35 million American women have uterine fibroids, benign tumors made of fibrous tissues that can range in size from teeny tiny to larger than a grapefruit. Even though fibroids are quite common, their symptoms can be confused with other conditions, making an accurate diagnosis especially important.
At Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare with offices in Fayetteville, Newnan, and Stockbridge, Georgia, our experienced OB/GYN providers offer a comprehensive line of gynecological care services — including diagnosing and treating uterine fibroids.
Here’s a closer look at uterine fibroids, what causes them, and the methods we use to accurately and effectively diagnose your condition.
Although uterine fibroids are a type of tumor, fewer than one in 1000 uterine fibroids are cancerous. Despite being benign, however, uterine fibroids can cause many uncomfortable symptoms, including:
The severity of your symptoms can differ based on the size and number of fibroids you have and where they’re located inside your body. Some women with fibroids don’t have any problematic symptoms at all.
If you have any signs or symptoms of fibroids, your provider will conduct or order one or more tests to confirm the diagnosis before creating a customized treatment plan to address your specific needs. Here are five common methods used for diagnosing fibroids:
Fibroids are usually discovered during your routine gynecological pelvic exam. This exam allows your provider to feel the size and shape of your uterus and to detect any abnormalities, like a fibroid. If your provider suspects a fibroid during your pelvic exam, they may order additional diagnostic tests.
The most common diagnostic tool used to diagnose uterine fibroids is an ultrasound. This technology uses sound waves to obtain a picture of your uterus. This allows your Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare provider to diagnose, measure, and map your fibroids.
Your provider may order an MRI to diagnose fibroids and get clearer, more detailed pictures about the size and location of any tumors. MRIs are especially useful if you are over 40 or if you have an especially large uterus.
A hysteroscopy uses a flexible, lighted tube (a hysteroscope) to examine the inside of your uterus. The special tools transmit the images to a screen, so your provider can determine the cause of your symptoms. Sometimes your Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare provider can remove small fibroids at the same time as the diagnostic procedure.
Hysterosalpingography uses a dye to showcase your uterus and Fallopian tubes during an X-ray. This diagnostic test is especially helpful if you’re experiencing issues with fertility, and it allows your Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare doctor to determine if your Fallopian tubes are blocked by fibroids.
The good news for women struggling with fibroids is that they’re highly treatable. The best course of treatment, however, depends on multiple factors, including your symptoms and the risks associated with your specific fibroids.
Your provider discusses your best treatment options, however some of the more common therapeutic modalities include:
Your Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare provider reviews your options and makes customized treatment recommendations based on your fibroids, symptoms, and how they’re affecting your quality of life.
Learn if uterine fibroids are the root cause of your symptoms and the right treatment for you by contacting the experts at Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare. Call 770-991-2200 to schedule an appointment at the Georgia office nearest you, or book a consultation online now.