Most fibroids ― which are benign tumors that grow in the uterus ― don’t require treatment. In many instances, you may not even know you have one. However, you’ll need to seek treatment if your fibroid causes harmful symptoms.
At Advanced Endometriosis Center, Ulas Bozdogan, MD, specializes in cutting-edge treatments for fibroids. In this blog, Dr. Bozdogan, who is an expert in robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery, tells you everything you need to know about fibroids.
Researchers aren’t certain of what causes fibroids, also known as myomas. Studies indicate that there may be genetic changes between fibroid cells and regular muscle cells. Studies also show that estrogen and progesterone may promote the growth of fibroids.
Furthermore, uterine fibroids may develop from a stem cell in the muscular tissue of the uterus. The single cell can divide repeatedly to form the rubbery mass. Fibroids may grow slowly or rapidly, and in many cases they shrink on their own.
Fibroids can be as small as specs, virtually invisible to the human eye. They can also form into large masses that disrupt the functioning of your uterus. You can even have multiple fibroids, which can expand the size of your uterus. If they don’t cause symptoms, they can be detected during a pelvic exam.
You should seek treatment for a fibroid if it produces symptoms that cause complications. Fibroids may be considered harmful depending on size, location, and number.
If you experience symptoms, some of the most common are:
The pain and weight of the fibroid can add pressure to your uterus as well as the surrounding ligaments, bladder, rectum, or vaginal wall. This can make sex painful.
A fibroid might grow too large for its blood supply and cause tissue to die. This can produce fever and pain in your uterus. It may even loosen from the base and fall toward the cervix. This can lead to further pain and infection.
Fibroids typically occur more often among African-American women than among other women, especially at younger ages. African-American women are also more likely to have large fibroids that produce harmful symptoms. You’re more likely to develop fibroids if a close relative has fibroids. Other risk factors for developing fibroids include:
While fibroids aren’t usually dangerous themselves, they can lead to complications, especially for pregnant women. Submucosal fibroids, which are those that start under the uterine lining, can cause infertility or pregnancy loss. They may also restrict the growth of the fetus and cause placental abruption and preterm delivery.
If your fibroid doesn't produce signs or symptoms, no intervention is needed. However, if your fibroid causes complications, there are a number of treatments Dr. Bozdogan can perform.
Nonsurgical treatments include:
In certain cases, surgery may be necessary, such as if the fibroid is too large. But even with surgery, we can preserve the uterus with a myomectomy. This method targets the fibroid without removing the rest of the uterine tissue. As a final option, we can perform a hysterectomy, which removes the uterus.
If you have symptoms related to a fibroid or want to see if you do, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Endometriosis Center today.