Are you experiencing unusual pain or pressure in your abdomen? Have your menstrual periods changed recently, becoming longer, heavier, or more frequent? If so, you may have uterine fibroids.
Although uterine fibroids are common, especially in women ages 30-40, they’re not a normal part of life. Fortunately, treatment can offer relief.
At Women’s Healthcare of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, we specialize in helping women with fibroids. Here is some important information about this common medical condition.
What are fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in the muscular tissue of your uterus. Also known as leiomyomas or myomas, fibroids can cause a range of symptoms and can occur in just about any woman.
In addition to heavy periods, pain, and pelvic pressure, fibroids can cause miscarriages and infertility. They may also lead to anemia, pain during sex, or bleeding between periods. Or they may cause no symptoms at all.
Fibroids can vary in size and number. They can be so small they’re virtually undetectable, or large enough to cause a noticeable extension of your uterus.
If you have fibroids
The first step in diagnosing fibroids is a pelvic exam. If your provider suspects fibroids, she may recommend tests such as an ultrasound, X-ray, or hysteroscopy. During a hysteroscopy, your doctor inserts a slim scope into your vagina that allows her to look inside your uterine cavity.
If your fibroids are not causing symptoms, or if you’re approaching menopause, you may not need treatment. Fibroid symptoms often disappear at menopause.
However, if symptoms are causing discomfort, interfering with your quality of life, or preventing you from having children, treatment can help.
There are several ways to treat fibroids, including the following:
If pain is your primary symptom, over-the-counter pain relievers can help.
Birth control pills
The hormones in contraceptive pills may reduce some fibroid symptoms, such as pelvic pain or heavy periods. However, they’re not a good option for women who want to become pregnant.
During this procedure, your care provider uses a laser or other tool to remove or destroy the lining of your uterus. You can’t get pregnant after endometrial ablation.
This is a surgical procedure that removes fibroids while leaving the uterus in place. Myomectomy is often the best option for women who want to become pregnant.
Surgically removing the uterus offers a treatment option for women with serious fibroid symptoms. However, it’s not a viable treatment for women who want to become pregnant.
Should you require a surgical procedure to remove your fibroids, both a myomectomy and hysterectomy can be performed with minimally invasive options, such as laparoscopically or with robotic assistance. Compared to open abdominal surgery, a laporsc[oc or robotically-assisted surgery means smaller incisions than standard, open surgery, less blood and quicker recovery time.
Get help for fibroid symptoms
If you think you may have uterine fibroids, let us help. At Women’s Healthcare of Princeton, we provide a full range of diagnosis and treatment services to women in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and the greater New York City area. To consult with one of our specialists, call our office or use our online scheduling tool to make an appointment.