Uterine fibroids are one of the most common types of tumors in women. They affect the uterus, the organ that houses and nourishes a developing fetus during pregnancy. Fibroids are usually benign, meaning they are not cancerous. However, they can cause several symptoms, including heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and pressure on the bladder or rectum.
The symptoms of uterine fibroids can range from mild to severe. You should see an ob-gyn to discuss your symptoms and treatment options. Contact Dr. Shamim Patel, an ob-gyn in Chicago, Illinois, for more information.
Family History May Play a Part
Although there are many causes of uterine fibroids, family history is one risk factor. If your mother or sister had fibroids, you are more likely to develop them. The good news is family history rarely plays a role in developing fibroids.
Other common causes include:
- Hormone imbalances, such as high levels of estrogen or progesterone
- A sedentary lifestyle
Heavy Urination is a Common Symptom
Fibroids can cause several symptoms, the most common being heavy menstrual bleeding. If you have fibroids, they put pressure on the bladder and can cause urinary frequency or urgency. You may also have difficulty urinating or need to urinate more often. While it may be hard to determine whether the case of heavy urination is due to fibroids, if you are experiencing other symptoms like pelvic pain or pressure, it is best to see an ob-gyn. Dr. Patel may recommend a pelvic MRI to confirm the diagnosis.
Fibroids can be asymptomatic
While most women with fibroids experience symptoms, some do not. Many women only find out they have fibroids when they undergo a pelvic exam or imaging test for another reason. It is important to have regular pelvic exams if you have risk factors for fibroids, such as family history or obesity. This way, if you develop fibroids, they can be diagnosed and treated early.
There Are Different Types of Fibroids
Fibroids can vary in size, shape, and location. The three main types of fibroids are:
Submucosal Fibroids: These fibroids grow in the inner lining of the uterus. They are the most likely to cause heavy menstrual bleeding.
Intramural Fibroids: These fibroids grow within the muscular wall of the uterus. They are the most common type of fibroid and can cause pelvic pain and pressure.
Subserosal Fibroids: These fibroids grow on the outer surface of the uterus. They can cause pelvic pain, pressure, and difficulty urinating.
Submucosal Fibroids: This type grows in the inner lining of the uterus. They are the most likely to cause heavy menstrual bleeding.
Fibroids are Treatable
While there is no cure for fibroids, they are treatable. The treatment depends on the symptoms and how severe they are. If the fibroids are small and asymptomatic, no treatment may be necessary. Dr. Shamim Patel may recommend various treatment options depending on the symptoms. These include:
Medications: Medications can help to shrink fibroids and relieve symptoms.
Hormonal therapy: This therapy uses hormones to shrink fibroids.
Myomectomy: This is a surgery to remove the fibroids. It can be done vaginally, laparoscopically, or abdominally.
Hysterectomy: This is a surgery to remove the uterus. It is usually only recommended if other treatment options have failed.
In summary, uterine fibroids are common, with most women developing them at some point in their lives. While they can cause several symptoms, they are treatable. If you think you may have fibroids, contact her to discuss your options.