Uterine Fibroids are Common
Fibroids are generally non-cancerous or benign growths that occur on or in the uterus. According to the National Uterine Fibroids Foundation (NUFF), nearly 80% of women in their childbearing years have uterine fibroids to some degree and will have developed fibroids by age 50. Most women have no symptoms or related complications, while 1 in 4 will experience severe symptoms, such as prolonged menstrual cycles and heavy bleeding, which will require treatment.
Understanding Symptoms & Causes
Uterine fibroids are different and can vary for every woman. For example, they can range in size, from being as tiny as a seedling, to as large as a grapefruit that enlarges and distorts the shape of the uterus. Some women have one or a few fibroids, while others can have multiple. Even the location of the fibroids varies in and/or around the uterus. The good news is that fibroids tend to shrink during menopause.
Know the Symptoms
As mentioned above, most women don’t know they have fibroids until a physician detects them during a pelvic ultrasound or examination, or if a woman begins to experience related symptoms and possible complications.
Common symptoms include and are not limited to:
- Pelvic pain and pressure
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Severe cramping
- Prolonged menstrual periods – over 7 days
- Lower back and leg pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
If you begin to experience unusual symptoms associated with pelvic pain, menstruation, or difficulty using the restroom, it’s best to contact a Woodlands OBGYN Associate physician for an evaluation.
What are the Causes?
Though there is no known cause or causes for uterine fibroids in women, research and clinical experience have found a few common factors associated with having fibroids.
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Treatment Options are Available
If you learn that you have fibroids, but are not having any problems, the option for no treatment is an acceptable option! However, for those who are experiencing uterine fibroid symptoms with complications, the following options are available at Woodlands OBGYN:
- Birth control pills or progesterone hormone therapy to control bleeding.
- Myomectomy — the surgical removal of the fibroids without removing the uterus. Fibroids are removed thru an incision via laparoscopy, using the da Vinci robot, or thru the cervix via hysteroscopy. (Please note: Myomectomy depends on the size and location of the fibroids, which may make it an option.)
- Hysterectomy — the surgical removal of the uterus and the fibroids; usually this can be done using less invasive types of surgery, like da Vinci Robotic Surgery.