Dealing with Uterine Fibroids
What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are benign growths that occur from the muscle layer of the uterus. Fibroids are extremely common, 20-80% of women develop fibroids by age 50. Some women have single fibroids, while others have multiple uterine fibroids. A fibroid may be the size of a seed or grow larger than a softball. A fibroid can also remain small, grow slowly, or grow rapidly.
What are Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?
Many small fibroids cause no symptoms at all. Some fibroids can cause irregular bleeding, longer or heavy menses, cramping and anemia due to blood loss. Fibroids may also cause pelvic pain or pain during intercourse. Other symptoms of fibroids can include frequent urination or rectal pressure, and can impact fertility.
Fibroids may be suspected after evaluation of symptoms and upon pelvic exam. Fibroids are detected on an ultrasound or surgically during hysteroscopy or laparoscopy.
What Treatment is Available for Uterine Fibroids?
Treatment of fibroids depends on symptoms, size, and location of fibroids along with desire for future childbearing.
- Fibroids that are small and are not causing symptoms, often do not require treatment.
- Birth control pills or hormonal medications may be used to control heavy bleeding and pelvic pain associated with fibroids.
- Progestin releasing IUD may be used to control heavy bleeding & pelvic pain if the fibroids do not distort the uterine cavity.
- GnRH Agonists - suppress estrogen and may be used for 6 months to help shrink fibroids prior to surgery.
- Myomectomy - surgery to remove fibroid(s) may be used if future fertility is desired.
- Uterine Artery Embolization - blood flow is cut off to the fibroid causing it to shrink.
- Hysterectomy - surgery to remove uterus, if childbearing is complete.
At Heart of Illinois OBGYN, our doctors and nurse practitioners are skilled at identifiying and treating uterine fibroids. We treat patients in the Bloomington-Normal area and surrounding towns. Please call our office today for an appointment.