Also called myomas or fibromas, fibroids are growths (tumors) that develop in the muscular tissue of the uterus. These growths are common in women, especially through the childbearing years. Fibroids may grow within the uterine wall, bulge into the inner uterine cavity or form on the outer uterine wall.
You may have one large fibroid, several smaller fibroids, or a combination of sizes in various locations. In the vast majority of cases, more than 99 percent, fibroids are not cancerous, and the symptoms resolve once you’ve gone through menopause.
Many women have no symptoms and may not even realize they have fibroids. If you do develop symptoms, you may experience:
Fibroids that bulge into the inner uterine cavity may affect your ability to carry a pregnancy full-term. They can interfere with an embryo’s ability to attach to the uterine lining and develop normally. A history of multiple miscarriages may cause Dr. Alshalabi to recommend diagnostic studies to rule out uterine fibroids as a cause.
Dr. Alshalabi may notice fibroids during a pelvic examination and recommend additional diagnostic studies to determine the number and location of these benign growths. Studies used to diagnose fibroids include:
Transvaginal Ultrasound: A painless test in which a small instrument called a transducer is placed in the vagina and transmits images of the inner uterine structure to a monitor.
Hysteroscopy: A detailed examination of the cervical canal and interior of the uterus using a small camera called a hysteroscope that’s inserted into the vagina and projects images onto a monitor.
If you’re not having significant symptoms, Dr. Alshalabi may recommend continued monitoring since fibroids seem to shrink and symptoms often resolve with the onset of menopause. If the fibroids are causing difficulty, he may recommend treatment with hormones to help shrink the fibroids.
Other treatment options for fibroids include a myomectomy, in which the fibroid is surgically removed, but the uterus and other reproductive organs remain intact. If your symptoms are severe and you’re not interested in becoming pregnant, Dr. Alshalabi may recommend a hysterectomy.
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