If you've been told you have fibroid tumors in your uterus, you may be anxious and confused about what it means. Fibroids are not uncommon and are sometimes found on routine pelvic ultrasounds. You may have been told you will need a hysterectomy as a result of these tumors. In some cases, you may need surgery. However, it may be better to wait and explore other options before signing consent forms for surgery.
Fibroids are nearly always non-cancerous growths. They're composed of muscles cells that form fibrous knots or masses in the uterus. There are four types of fibroids: submucosal, intramural, subserol, and pedunculated. The location of the tumors often determines the need for treatment. Pedunculated tumors hang by a stalk and may become twisted and cause pain. Subserol tumors extend from the uterine wall and can press on the bladder or rectum, causing pressure, pain, or generalized discomfort. Submucosal and intramural tumors are often the culprits of heavy bleeding and prolonged menstrual cycles.
Some women have fibroids and never develop any symptoms. You may experience increased bleeding with your monthly menstrual cycle. Excessive bleeding is a common complaint in women with large fibroids. You may experience pain and pressure, but it's not as common as prolonged bleeding. Leg pain, backaches, frequent urination, or constipation may also accompany larger tumors. Small fibroids rarely cause any symptoms and are usually found accidentally when you have a procedure done for an unrelated health issue.
Non-invasive treatment options
If your symptoms are mild, waiting and watching is the best option. Your OB-GYN doctor will determine if this is right for you or if other options need to be explored. Medications may be useful. GnRH agonists place your body in a temporary post-menopausal state that causes fibroids to shrink in size. Hormone-releasing intrauterine devices may be helpful for symptom relief, but they do not shrink the fibroids. Focused ultrasound surgery is performed while inside an MRI scanner and is non-invasive. Sound waves are focused into the tumor that heat and destroy tissue. No incision is necessary, and the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be useful for reducing pain and mild discomfort. Oral contraceptives may be prescribed to help control excessive bleeding. It is often a process of elimination. A variety of treatments may be needed to see which one is favorable and works best in your particular case.
Major surgery is never without risks. In extreme cases, it may be your only option. However, it should only be considered after careful consultation with your OB-GYN physician, such as at Ogeechee OB-GYN. Fibroids are generally benign and shrink naturally after menopause. Using medications and non-invasive options may provide the relief you need to manage your fibroids. Be informed and know your options before you give consent for invasive surgery.Share
13 November 2014
My name is Katie Langer. For a long time, I was bed ridden and I felt like I had no control over my life. I simply went along with what was instructed by my doctor and I didn't ask questions. It wasn't that my doctor wasn't willing to work with me, but I preferred to simply not think about the illness I was suffering from. I didn't realize that some of the symptoms I was suffering from were side effects of my medication and were not normal. After communicating more with my doctor, I was able to alleviate my symptoms. Since then, I've taken an interest in patient-doctor relationships and how to improve them.