You might have uterine fibroids and not even know it. That’s because, very often, uterine fibroids cause no symptoms at all. However, if your fibroids are causing any unpleasant symptoms, you have treatment options. At Dekalb Women's Specialists, our OB-GYN doctors and team of specialists can assess your condition and deliver the most effective treatments to either shrink or remove problematic uterine fibroids.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are benign (noncancerous) growths on the inside or outside of your uterus. These fibroids are also known as myomas, fibroid tumors, or leiomyomas. You don't need to do anything about uterine fibroids unless it is causing you problems.
Uterine fibroids are a common condition in women who are in their 30s and 40s. However, fibroids don't typically cause any symptoms, and many women often don’t even know they have fibroids.
The precise cause of uterine fibroids isn't clear, but the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone seem to make fibroids grow. This is why you're more likely to have fibroids during your fertile years when hormone levels are highest.
Uterine fibroids usually shrink after menopause, because your body is making far less estrogen and progesterone.
Signs & Symptoms of Fibroids
In many women, uterine fibroids don't cause any symptoms at all. Or, you may experience mild symptoms, like your periods becoming a little heavier than usual.
If uterine fibroids start bleeding or pressing on your organs, they can cause symptoms such as:
- Long, heavy periods
- Pain and cramping during periods
- Swelling or pressure in your abdomen
- Low back pain
- Pain during sex
- An urge to urinate more frequently
Heavy periods or abnormal bleeding may lead to anemia, which can make you feel tired and weak. In some instances, uterine fibroids might make it harder to conceive, but they don't usually affect the pregnancy.
Diagnosis & Treatment
To find out if uterine fibroids may be the cause of your symptoms, ask your OB-GYN provider at Dekalb Women's Specialists. Your provider will conduct a pelvic exam to check your uterus. An ultrasound may be necessary to show the size and location of the fibroids. Blood tests may be ordered to check for anemia.
If your uterine fibroids aren't bothering you, you don't need to treat them. If this is the case, your provider will continue to monitor the fibroids and your condition during your regular well-woman checkups.
There are several ways to treat troublesome uterine fibroids.
Shrinking Uterine Fibroids
Shrinking the fibroids by cutting off its blood supply is one method. This is done during a relatively simple outpatient procedure called a uterine fibroid embolization. A catheter is threaded through a blood vessel in the thigh to the arteries that supply blood to the fibroids. Once in place, particles are released that are designed to block blood flow to the fibroids. Without adequate blood, the fibroids shrink and die. This is a good option for women experiencing bothersome symptoms due to uterine fibroids but who don’t want to have surgery to remove the fibroids. Ask your Dekalb Women’s Specialist provider if embolization is right for you.
Surgical Removal of Uterine Fibroids
If you opt for surgery, a myomectomy can be performed to remove the fibroids and relieve your symptoms. This type of operation can be done in numerous ways, depending on the size, volume, and location of your fibroids. The OB-GYN surgeons at Dekalb Women’s Specialists have expertise in this type of procedure, including the use of robotic-assisted surgery.
For women in their childbearing years, uterine fibroids may return even after surgical removal. The only way to ensure fibroids are gone for good is to have a hysterectomy. This is only recommended for women who are past their childbearing years or who are sure they do not want to be able to get pregnant in the future.
Uterine Fibroids Treatment in Decatur, Stonecrest & Stone Mountain, GA
To discuss your treatment options for uterine fibroids – or to find out whether fibroids may be responsible for your painful, heavy periods, call Dekalb Women's Specialists today at (404) 508-2000. You may also request an appointment now. We look forward to seeing you at one of our three convenient locations near Atlanta, Georgia: in Decatur, Stonecrest, and Stone Mountain.