Facts About How Fibroids Are Diagnosed and Treated

July is Fibroid Awareness Month, which is a great time to read up on uterine fibroids. Having uterine fibroids can cause pain and heavy periods, and unfortunately, many women who suffer with this condition don’t know that treatment can help relieve their discomfort.

Your health care providers at Capital Women’s Care, with offices in Arlington and McLean, Virginia, would like to share some important information about uterine fibroids. Read on to learn six facts about this common problem.

Fact #1: Uterine fibroids are not cancer

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop on the inside or outside of the uterus. Also known as leiomyomas or myomas, uterine fibroids can be as small as an apple seed or as large as a grapefruit. They may grow slowly, quickly, or not at all for a long time.

A woman may have a single fibroid or many. Only in the rarest of cases do fibroids become cancerous.

Fact #2: Uterine fibroids can appear at any age

Women can develop uterine fibroids at any time of life, although they most commonly appear between the ages of 40 and the early 50s. Roughly 20-80% of women develop fibroids before the age of 50, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Fact #3: Uterine fibroids cause pain and other symptoms

Although not all women with fibroids experience pain, many do — and oftentimes, that pain is severe. In addition to pain, fibroids can cause a variety of symptoms, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, pain during sex, low back pain, frequent urination (if they press on your bladder), enlargement of the lower abdomen, and a feeling of pressure on your bottom (if they press on your rectum).

Fibroids that cause heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to iron deficiency anemia.

Fact #4: Uterine fibroids can complicate pregnancy

Having uterine fibroids can raise the chances of pregnancy complications, including cesarean section, breech presentation (baby is positioned bottom first rather than head first), preterm delivery, miscarriage, and a condition known as placental abruption, in which your placenta breaks away from your uterus and deprives your baby of oxygen.

In rare cases, having uterine fibroids can make it harder for you to get pregnant.

Fact #5: Several types of tests can detect uterine fibroids

If you have fibroids, your doctor may be able to feel them during your pelvic exam.

To get more information about your fibroids, your doctor may order tests such as ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or hysterosalpingogram (HSG), an X-ray that also uses dye.

Fact #6: Treatment can help with fibroid symptoms.

There are several treatment options for women with fibroids.

If you have mild symptoms, over-the-counter pain relievers may offer enough relief. You may also feel better and have fewer symptoms if you take birth control pills or use a hormone-treated intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control. These types of birth control can often reduce menstrual bleeding in women with fibroids.

If you would benefit from having your fibroids removed, your doctors here at Capital Women’s Care can perform laparoscopic surgery through tiny incisions near your navel or hysteroscopic surgery, which requires no incisions, because it is done through your vagina.

If you think you may have uterine fibroids, make an appointment with us at Capital Women’s Care. Just phone the office or book your appointment here on the website using the online booking tool. We have extensive experience helping women with fibroids to feel better and improving your chances of having a successful, uncomplicated pregnancy.     

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