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A possible cause of pain and excessive bleeding
Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that develop in the uterus. They affect an estimated 20 to 50 percent of women, and many women go undiagnosed. While fibroids are not associated with increased uterine cancer risk, if they grow into the uterine wall, they can interfere with a woman’s efforts to become pregnant.
Most women who have fibroids do not experience symptoms. However, fibroids can sometimes produce:
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
- Abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods
- Pelvic pain caused by one or more tumors pressing 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 a clinician
Diagnosing and Treating Uterine Fibroids
Because most women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms, so most do not require treatment. For those who do experience symptoms like those listed above, treatment may be necessary depending on the severity of the symptoms. Emergency treatment is sometimes needed when there is sudden, sharp pain or profuse bleeding.
Your doctor or nurse practitioner can use several methods to diagnose uterine fibroids, including imaging exams such as ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, or hysteroscopy (an optical instrument inserted through the vagina). In some cases, we may perform a biopsy to rule out cancer.
For mild fibroid cases, you may be able to manage your pain with anti-inflammatory drug. Depending on the severity and location of the fibroids, your age, and whether you want to become pregnant in the future, other treatment options include:
- Anti-hormonal drugs
- Myomectomy, a conservative surgical procedure that removes fibroids while leaving the uterus intact
- Uterine fibroid embolization, a minimally invasive, image-guided procedure that delivers small particles that destroy the fibroid tumors by cutting off their blood supply.
- Hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus)
Even if you receive your routine gynecology care from your family doctor or other healthcare provider, we encourage you to contact About Women Ob-Gyn for specialized gynecology services, including: