Fibroids and Endometriosis are conditions that we commonly see in our office. They both involve abnormally growing tissue, but there are a few differences. Fibroids are created when smooth tissue from the myometrium layer of the uterus forms a rubbery, dense, benign tumor. These masses can be big or small, can fluctuate in size, and can actually disappear on their own (many women have fibroids without knowing it). Some fibroids are found on the inside of the uterus, some are found toward the outside, and some are embedded in the uterine wall; however, they are always found attached to the uterus. Endometriosis is similar in that it is formed from tissue normally found in the uterus. With Endometriosis, endometrial tissue from inside the uterus travels outside the uterus and attaches itself onto nearby organs like the colon, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. Unfortunately, endometrial implants do not go away on their own.
Endometrial implants are very small and cannot be seen with an ultrasound; laparoscopic surgery is required for an official diagnosis. Fibroids, on the other hand, are diagnosed through pelvic exam and ultrasound. Surgical removal of growths and implants depends on location, severity, symptoms, and quality of life.
Both conditions can cause pelvic pain, pressure, heavy menstrual bleeding, painful periods, spotting, back pain, pain with intercourse, and bladder issues. Because the symptoms are so similar, it is important to come in for a pelvic exam and ultrasound so we can discuss a treatment plan.