Fibroids are noncancerous growths inside a woman’s uterus that often develop during childbearing years. They are made of renegade muscle cells and fibroid connective tissues that form a knot or mass inside the uterus. Fibroids vary in size, ranging anywhere from less than an inch to larger than a softball. While the exact cause of fibroids is unknown, risk factors include family history, obesity, or early onset puberty (before age 9 in girls).
Common signs and symptoms of fibroids
While some women do not experience any signs or symptoms, common fibroid symptoms may include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Periods that last longer than one week
- Pelvis pressure or pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Back or leg pain
- Pain during intercourse
Are fibroids dangerous?
Fibroids are often diagnosed during routine pelvic exams. To avoid potential complications, early detection is important, so be sure to schedule routine checkups and preventive health screenings. Treatment is only recommended if you are experiencing common fibroid symptoms or discomfort. If you are diagnosed with fibroids, but they are not affecting your quality of life, you and your doctor may choose watchful waiting over treatment (regular checkups to confirm the fibroids are not growing or causing symptoms).
Treatment options for fibroids
When treatment is necessary, common fibroid symptoms can be treated in various ways, such as:
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) is the most common medication used to treat fibroids. It helps shrink fibroids by causing the body to produce less estrogen and progesterone hormones. Other medications may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, oral contraceptives, or a long-lasting internal contraceptive called the levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS).
- Minimally invasive or traditional surgical procedures
Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, certain procedures may be used, including uterine artery embolization, myolysis, myomectomy, endometrial ablation, or hysterectomy.
- Lifestyle changes
In addition to medication and/or surgical treatments, your doctor may recommend lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise to lower your risk of developing additional fibroids.
If you are looking for highly skilled well woman care from board-certified physicians, you can depend on the Prosper and McKinney, Texas gynecologists at Adriatica Women’s Health.
Call 972-542-8884 to schedule your appointment today.