Have you been diagnosed with uterine fibroids? If so, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that as many as one in five women have fibroids and nearly half will have them by the time they celebrate their 50th birthday. Fibroids usually don’t cause significant complications, but if you experience side effects like heavy bleeding or pain, you should make an appointment at Louisiana Women’s Healthcare.
Uterine fibroids are benign (not cancerous) growths in the uterus. You may hear them also referred to as leiomyomas, myomas, uterine myomas and fibromas. Women who have fibroids are not aware of them because the growths can remain small and not cause symptoms or problems. However, when they grow, multiply, or distort the size and shape of the uterus, they can cause pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, cramping and difficulty emptying your bladder or having a bowel movement.
Your fibroids may or may not cause symptoms. Some women have no symptoms with their fibroids and are surprised when they’re discovered during a routine gynecological exam. Some fibroids cause noticeable symptoms such as:
Uterine fibroids are typically not dangerous, but they may cause disruptive side effects. The discomfort and heavy bleeding associated with uterine fibroids may hinder you from enjoying your favorite activities. The heavy bleeding also puts you at risk for anemia. A large fibroid that pushes your uterus out of shape can also make it difficult to maintain a pregnancy. You may have trouble becoming pregnant when a fibroid blocks a fallopian tube or otherwise interferes with your reproductive cycle.
The diagnostic process for uterine fibroids involves gathering information about your medical history and a pelvic exam. Most uterine fibroids are discovered incidentally during routine pelvic exams. To make an accurate diagnosis and measure your uterine fibroids, your physician may order an ultrasound or MRI. He or she may also take a complete blood count to test for anemia.
Uterine fibroids usually don’t require any intervention, so your doctor may take a wait-and-see approach if the side effects don’t bother you. Otherwise, your doctor can help reduce symptoms with medication or remove the fibroids with non-invasive procedures or surgery.
At Louisiana Women’s Healthcare, our team of physicians are highly experienced diagnosing and treating uterine fibroids. We base treatment recommendations on your age, family planning goals, type of fibroids, and the impact of fibroid symptoms on your health and daily life. To learn more about the fibroid treatment options available to you, schedule an appointment online, through MyOchsner, or by phone (225) 201-2010.