If you have fibroids, you’re not alone. In fact, the majority of women develop fibroids at some point in their lives. However, in some cases, fibroids can cause symptoms that disrupt your everyday life. We at Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare are experts in helping you deal with this condition.
Uterine leiomyomas, aka fibroids
The medical name for fibroids is uterine leiomyomas, and they are non-cancerous tumors that grow in the smooth muscle layer of your uterus. They may also be called fibromyomas, fibromas, myofibromas, or myomas. According to the Center for Uterine Fibroids, they are the most common solid pelvic tumors in women.
Some risk factors
There are a few things that raise your risk of developing fibroids, though there is no way to tell if they will cause symptoms or not. You’re more likely to have fibroids if you:
- Have a family history of fibroids
- Are African American
- Are overweight
- Have never given birth
- Are in your 30s or 40s
Symptoms you may have
If you do have fibroids, you may never know it, as they don’t always cause symptoms. And since they tend to shrink after menopause, they may resolve on their own. The two most common symptoms that occur are abnormal bleeding and a feeling of pressure in your pelvis.
Fibroids can cause longer, heavier periods. Your period may last seven or more days, and you may bleed so much that you need to change your sanitary pad or tampon hourly.
Fibroids vary widely in size. They can be very small or the size of a grapefruit. Fibroids can also cause your uterus to enlarge.
The feeling of pelvic pressure you may feel can be from your uterus being enlarged or from the large size of a particular fibroid. Some women have fibroids large enough that they appear four to five months pregnant!
Because fibroids are usually lumpy and bumpy, they can cause pressure on the organs and structures around your uterus. Depending on the location of the fibroid, you may have difficulty with bowel movements or with urination.
Frequent urination and incontinence are both symptoms you may experience as a result of fibroids. Constipation is also a possible symptom.
Fibroids are also associated with reproductive issues such as:
- Recurrent miscarriage
- Premature labor
- Complications during labor
Treatment for fibroids
Since fibroids don’t always cause symptoms, they don’t always require treatment. However, if your symptoms are disrupting your life, your doctor at Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare may suggest one of two different treatment options: hysterectomy or myomectomy.
If you have large, symptomatic fibroids, hysterectomy, or the removal of your uterus, may be the best treatment option. Your doctor will discuss your specific situation and choices with you so you can make an informed decision about whether this is a good approach for you, as well as which is the best type of hysterectomy for your condition.
This procedure is used to remove an individual fibroid instead of your entire uterus. There are several methods for performing a myomectomy, and the most appropriate one depends on a number of factors unique to your situation. Your doctor can tell you more.
If you think you’re experiencing symptoms related to fibroids, book an appointment at SWHC, online or by phone. Our staff evaluates each patient individually and suggests the best treatment plan for your specific circumstances.