Between 20% and 80% of women in the United States develop uterine fibroids by the time they reach age 50. The reason behind this large range in numbers is that, in most cases, women are unaware of their existence. When uterine fibroids do become symptomatic, the good news is there are solutions.
At Advanced Endometriosis Center, with locations in New York City and Hackensack, New Jersey, Ulas Bozdogan, MD, and our team specialize in both endometriosis and uterine fibroids, which means we have the experience and expertise you need for treating problematic fibroids.
To help you better understand uterine fibroids and their potential risks, we’ve put together the following information.
What is a uterine fibroid?
Uterine fibroids, which are medically known as uterine leiomyomas or myomas, are muscular tumors that grow in the walls of your uterus. While we understand that the word “tumor” can be a frightening word, the first point we want to make is that these tumors are benign and not associated with cancer.
Most women develop fibroids in their 30s and 40s, and African American women are more prone to these growths — 59% in black women as opposed to 43% in white women. After women pass through menopause, fibroids do tend to shrink or disappear.
The fibroids themselves can range in size from something as small as a kernel of rice on up to a growth the size of a grapefruit, or larger.
Again, we want to underscore the point that small fibroids are very common, and most women don’t experience any symptoms. If they become numerous or large enough, however, problems can develop.
Common symptoms of problematic fibroids
When women develop symptoms due to uterine fibroids, they typically include:
- Heavy menstruation
- Painful periods
- Pain during sex
- A pressure or heaviness in your abdomen
- Lower back pain
- An increased need to urinate
Uterine fibroids rarely interfere with fertility, but women who have symptomatic fibroids are six times more likely to require a Cesarean section when it comes time to deliver a child.
Diagnosing and treating uterine fibroids
If you have any of the symptoms we outlined above, our first step is to determine whether uterine fibroids are to blame. To do this, we turn to advanced imaging, such as ultrasound, to get a look inside your uterus.
Depending on what we find, we may recommend one of more of the following:
- Close monitoring
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Hormone therapies to control symptoms, such as an IUD, birth control pills, or injections
If your fibroids don’t respond to these measures, we may recommend a more aggressive approach, such as any of the following:
- Uterine artery occlusion or embolization to block the fibroid’s blood supply
- MRI-focused ultrasound for thermal destruction of fibroids
- Laparoscopic destruction with heat, “cryo” (freezing), or radiofrequency
- Robotic myomectomy
At our practice, Dr. Bozdogan is an expert in the field of robotic myomectomies. This minimally invasive approach to removing problematic fibroids not only eliminates the growths, but the advanced surgical techniques also lead to less pain and faster recovery times over traditional surgery.
If you have problematic fibroids and need to seek treatment or want to see if you have problematic fibroids, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Endometriosis Center today.