The walls of your uterus are made up of three layers of tissue, with a middle layer that consists of smooth muscles. Uterine fibroids are growths that develop in the muscle. They can grow outside the uterus or in the uterine lining, although that’s not common. Uterine fibroids aren’t cancerous -- and they don’t increase your risk for cancer -- but they can cause health problems.
Fibroids can be any size -- as small as a pea and as large as a grapefruit -- but only about one-third of them get large enough to be discovered during a pelvic examination. You can have a lot of small fibroids, one large growth, or both.
If your fibroids are small, you may not have any symptoms. When the fibroids get larger, they cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Your symptoms may include:
If you experience abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, or have a hard time urinating, it’s important to schedule a checkup at Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine. Other potentially serious gynecologic disorders can cause the same symptoms; a thorough exam can rule out complications.
Treatment depends on your age, symptom severity, overall health, and the size and location of the fibroids. If you’re close to menopause and your symptoms are mild, you may be able to wait without treatment, because fibroids usually stop growing or shrink when you reach menopause.
Several medications are available to control heavy bleeding and alleviate pain, but they don’t shrink the fibroids. Medications that stop your menstrual cycle or reduce the size of the fibroid may be considered. Progestin-releasing intrauterine devices also reduce bleeding.
When medications don’t help, your doctor may recommend one of the following types of surgery:
Come visit your Manhattan OBGYN.
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