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Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids are a common type of tumor in the uterus that are usually benign. Estimates vary on how many women may have fibroids because most never have any symptoms. Typically, only the larger fibroids or those in certain locations will cause symptoms. Some fibroids can be palpated during a physical exam. Most will be detected with an ultrasound or another imaging procedure. 

It is not known what exactly causes fibroids, but the current theory is that an abnormal muscle cell multiplies and grows larger because of the estrogen in the female reproductive system. Women approaching menopause are at highest risk of developing fibroids, as are African American women and women whose weight categorizes them as obese.

Some women notice no signs of fibroids, while others may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
  • Abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Pelvic pain (caused as the tumor presses on pelvic organs)
  • Frequent urination
  • Low back pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • A firm mass, often located near the middle of the pelvis, which can be felt by the physician

A physical exam, blood tests and imaging tests may all be used to diagnose fibroids. Treatment can often include a period of observation since many fibroids shrink on their own. Other treatments include:

  • Hysterectomy
  • Myomectomy (removing just the fibroid) 
  • Medication like gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH agonists). 
  • Anti-hormonal agents
  • Uterine artery embolization (blocking of blood supply to the fibroid)
  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers. 

Dr. Brown can assess your situation and recommend the course of treatment that’s best for you.

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