Women & Fibroids: Don’t Suffer with Troubling Symptoms
If you’ve been diagnosed with fibroids, you are not alone. They’re the most common type of pelvic tumors in women, but the good thing is they are very rarely cancerous.
While Some Women Experience Only Minor Symptoms, Others Can Suffer From the Following:
- Heavy, prolonged periods
- Pelvic and back pain
- Frequent urination
- Painful intercourse
When women experience minor symptoms, we often use a wait and see approach because fibroids often decrease in size as you reach menopause.
What Treatment is Available for Fibroids
Those who experience more severe symptoms have several options for treatment. Which treatment is best for you depends on many factors, including the severity of your symptoms, the quantity and size of fibroids. Also, it depends on where they are located and your stage of life.
Treatment Options Include:
- Oral contraceptives regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce bleeding, but do not shrink fibroids.
- GnRH agonists are medications used to temporarily block estrogen production and thus shrink fibroids and stop heavy bleeding. These are used only for women with heavy bleeding and serious anemia who would otherwise need a blood transfusion after fibroid surgery. GnRH agonists cannot be used continually and fibroids will regrow once you stop taking the medication.
- Intrauterine devices (IUD) release a small amount of hormone into the uterus and can decrease bleeding caused by fibroids.
- Uterine artery embolization is a newer alternative to surgery. An interventional radiologist uses x-ray technology to target arteries supplying the fibroids. Using a catheter, tiny particles are injected which block the artery’s blood flow and cause fibroids to shrink.
- Myomectomy is a surgical procedure which removes fibroids while preserving the uterus. It’s best for women who still want to have children and can be done with an abdominal incision or laparoscopically.
- Hysterectomy – vaginal, abdominal or laparoscopic – is an option for women no longer bearing children who want to definitively resolve fibroid problems by removing the entire uterus.
- Vaginal – for women whose uterus is not too large, the uterus can be removed through the vagina rather than with an abdominal incision.
- Abdominal – this procedure is used to perform a hysterectomy while leaving cervix intact using a bikini cut incision in lower abdomen.
- Laparoscopic – this less-invasive procedure removes the uterus using small incisions in lower abdomen (not for women with large fibroids or a large uterus).
Treatment for these symptoms is an individual decision. My recommendation is to work with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment for you. With the several options available, there’s no reason to suffer with uncomfortable symptoms. For more reach out to CHI Health Women’s Health providers.
Dr. Guy Schropp is a doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at CHI Health. To learn more about Dr. Schropp, please visit his provider profile.