Fibroids (also called leiomyomas) are non-cancerous tumors that grow in the uterus. Fibroids are common in pre-menopausal women. Most fibroids are small and do not cause any symptoms— in fact, some women may accidentally find out they have fibroids while having an ultrasound or CT scan. However, women with larger fibroids may have symptoms of pelvic pain and pressure, and fibroids of any size can cause heavy periods that last longer than a week, as well as bleeding between periods.
If you are told that you have a fibroid, you do not necessarily need to have surgery to remove the fibroid or your uterus. Small fibroids that are not causing any symptoms of bleeding and pain can be monitored with periodic ultrasounds. There are medical treatments that can manage heavy, irregular bleeding related to fibroids. Mild pelvic pain related to fibroids can sometimes be controlled with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Women with small fibroids that are not inside the uterine cavity or blocking the cervix can still have uncomplicated pregnancies.
A myomectomy (surgery to remove one or more fibroids) may be recommended in women with heavy periods and severe pelvic pain which is not controlled by medical treatment. This is a good option for women who wish to become pregnant in the future, or do not want to have their uterus removed. A myomectomy may also be recommended before pregnancy if one or more fibroids are inside the uterine cavity, which may prevent a pregnancy from implanting, and increase the risk of miscarriage and/or preterm labor. Some women may choose to have their uterus removed (hysterectomy) if they have heavy periods and severe pelvic pain that does not get better with medical treatment.
The best way to begin treating fibroids is with the help of your gynecologist. Our team of gynecologists at Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates can assess your symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis so you can take the next step in treatment. You can schedule an appointment with our gynecologists by calling or filling out our online form.