Medical Minute: Uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are growths that develop from the muscle tissue of the uterus. They are benign, meaning not cancerous, but they can still cause significant discomfort over time. In this quick Medical Minute, Dr. Albert Odom, MD, explained what you need to know about uterine fibroids, including how they are diagnosed and treated.
Uterine fibroids are the most common type of growth found within a woman’s pelvis, but they aren’t talked about nearly enough. Fibroids can remain fairly small or grow very large. Someone who has uterine fibroids may only have one, a few, or a large number of them. While they sometimes grow rapidly, in many cases the growth is slow and takes place over a number of years.
Symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Longer, more frequent or heavier periods
- Menstrual pain, or cramping
- Vaginal bleeding outside of your period
- Difficulty urinating or incontinence
- Pain in the abdomen or lower back
- Pain during sex
- Miscarriages or infertility
- And more
In some cases, uterine fibroids may cause no symptoms at all.
“Uterine fibroids are usually diagnosed during a routine gynecology exam,” said Dr. Odom. “The physician may recommend a follow-up ultrasound, CT or MRI scan to further diagnose what the problem is.”
The treatment for uterine fibroids may involve shrinking existing fibroids, surgical removal of fibroids from the uterus (called a myomectomy) or a hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus itself.
“Most of these procedures can be done as an outpatient procedure nowadays,” said Dr. Odom. “While each method of treatment has its risks, your doctor will talk you through them and help you to decide which course of treatment is right for you.”
Find more information on what you should know about uterine fibroids right here on Flourish.
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