Fibroids Q & A
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are compact tumors that grow in your uterus during your childbearing years. These tumors are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. Fibroids may affect as many as 50% of women of reproductive age, but many women don’t know they exist.
A fibroid tumor can range in size considerably. Some are as small as a seed, while others are large enough to stretch the uterus.
What Causes Fibroids?
Fibroid tumors develop during the childbearing years, possibly because of the effects of reproductive hormones. However, the exact cause of fibroids isn’t known. Some women are more likely to develop these tumors than others. Some of the risk factors for fibroids include:
- Being overweight
- Beginning menstruation at a younger age
- Being black
- Having a family history of fibroids.
How Do Patients Know If They Have Fibroids?
Many fibroids don’t cause any symptoms, and you may never notice them unless you have testing for another purpose. However, if your fibroids are large or if you have many fibroids, you may notice:
- Heavier periods
- Periods that last more than 7 days
- Pain or pressure in the pelvis
- Trouble emptying the bladder
- Frequent need to urinate
How Does OB/GYN Specialists of South Miami Diagnose Fibroids?
In cases where fibroids are large, your doctor may be able to feel them during a pelvic exam. However, to confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may order imaging tests to view the inside of the uterus. In some cases, the doctor may even recommend a hysteroscopy, which is a procedure that allows them to look inside the uterus with a small camera inserted through the cervix.
What Treatments are Available?
If your doctor determines that you have fibroids, you may or may not need treatment. If your fibroids aren’t causing any symptoms or if your symptoms aren’t severe, you may device to wait for the tumors to go away on their own. For more women, this happens after menopause.
If your fibroids are causing bothersome symptoms, your doctor may recommend medication to shrink the tumors or relieve your symptoms. You may also need surgery to remove or destroy the tumors. In extreme cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy).