Fibroids develop in as many as 80% of all women and become more common with age. These tumor growths in the uterus are typically not cancerous, but they can become very difficult to live with, causing symptoms that interfere with your quality of life.
At The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group, the experienced medical team is experienced in diagnosing and treating uterine fibroids, especially those painful fibroids that can prevent you from staying physically active.
Here’s what the gynecology team wants you to know about fibroids.
Why fibroids develop
Many women develop fibroids in their lifetime, but a specific reason has not yet been found as to why they develop. Many factors in your life may play a part in their development, including your hormone levels and genetic history.
If close family members have fibroids, you have a higher chance of developing them. And as you get older and your hormone levels change, especially during perimenopause, fibroids may be more likely to grow. You may also be at an increased risk of developing fibroids during pregnancy when your hormone levels fluctuate.
Interestingly, in many cases, fibroids disappear on their own without treatment once you’ve reached your menopausal years.
Understanding the symptoms of fibroids
Many women who have fibroids experience no symptoms at all. However, fibroids can range in size from microscopic growths to tumors that are as large as a grapefruit. These larger tumors may cause symptoms, such as:
- Painful sex
- Heavy bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent urination
- Lower back pain
In younger women still in their childbearing years, large fibroids can also contribute to infertility. Fibroids can also grow large enough to cause noticeable protrusions in your abdomen.
When to seek treatment for fibroids
If you’re not having pain or other symptoms of fibroids, your gynecologist at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group may take a wait-and-see approach. They can monitor the size and location of your fibroids and recommend treatment if you start having pain or other complications related to fibroids.
In many cases, fibroids are only discovered during diagnostic testing for unexplained abdominal pain and heavy periods. Once noted, your provider can monitor the growth of your fibroids and recommend treatment if they begin to cause pain or other symptoms.
What you can do about fibroids
Fibroids that are large enough to interfere with fertility or those that cause your abdomen to become distended may require surgery to remove them.
For fibroids that don’t need immediate removal but still cause you pain and other symptoms, you may benefit from hormonal birth control pills. Hormones can help shrink the fibroids and control heavy menstrual bleeding to alleviate the worst of your symptoms. You may also benefit from over-the-counter pain relievers.
Other treatment options for alleviating painful or large fibroids may involve surgery to remove the tumors or, if you’re done having children, the removal of your uterus. A hysterectomy is often the last resort for treating fibroids.
Your provider at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group will ensure that you have the information you need to make the right choice about treating fibroids based on your family plans, your age, and the severity of your symptoms.
The most important thing to know about fibroids is that you don’t have to live with the pain and other complications of fibroids. You can find fibroid solutions today by scheduling a consultation online or over the phone with The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group.