What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are growths of the muscular tissue of the uterus. Uterine fibroids are not typically harmful, but they can cause a variety of symptoms.
Fibroids are more common than you think. As many as one in five women will experience fibroid growth in their lifetime. It’s not common for women under the age of 20 to develop fibroids. Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths that develop in the uterus. They can vary in size from small, pea-sized growths to large, bulky lesions. We typically see these lesions in the muscle wall of the uterus but they can also be found just under or outside of the uterine lining. It is thought that fibroids are caused by hormones or a genetic predisposition.
Fibroids can cause a range of symptoms, from feeling nothing at all to something more serious like pain or bleeding. Here are some symptoms related to fibroid growth.
- heavy menstrual bleeding that may include some blood clots
- pelvic pain
- pressure on the bladder or rectum
- pain during intercourse
- feeling the need to urinate more often
- pelvic cramping
- bleeding between periods
Diagnosing fibroids involves various methods of imaging. Ultrasound of the uterus or Hysteroscopy can be used to look for lesions. At times, an MRI can be ordered and even a biopsy of the tissue if your doctor deems it necessary. They can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because of other factors such as obesity.
Fibroids are not a point of concern unless they begin creating secondary symptoms and problems. Sometimes, a doctor will use birth control pills or IUD’s to help control the growth of fibroids. If these don’t render satisfactory results, some women may require a surgical intervention, done laparoscopically. A large percentage of women find that fibroids shrink when they go through menopause. This supports the theory that they are primarily caused by hormone issues.
You should contact your provider at Madison Women’s Clinic if you suspect you have fibroids. We can help ease your mind and choose the best treatment for healing.