What is a Fibroid?
Fibroids are tumors in the uterus that are most benign. They all start in the wall of the uterus and can grow to the outside or the inside of the uterus. If they are on the outside of the uterus they are more of a nuisance; they will make your uterus feel irregular to a doctor during a pelvic exam.
If you are diagnosed with fibroids via ultrasound (or any other method) and this is the first you are hearing of having fibroids, it is very important that you schedule a follow up with your doctor about 3 months after diagnosis to check on your fibroids. This is to check on the growth rate of your fibroids as cancerous fibroids grow at an accelerated rate in comparison to non-cancerous fibroids. The chance of having cancer in a fibroid is about 1/2500 (.04%).
If you are aware that you currently have fibroids, it is not necessary to schedule follow up visits with your doctor unless you are experiencing symptoms. Symptoms of Fibroids can include: heavy bleeding during your period, bleeding between periods, prolonged periods, bleeding after intercourse, and pain (due to the size of the fibroid). When fibroids begin causing these kinds of problems it is time to do something about it.
Available Treatment Options
Ablation: This is a procedure where we burn off the lining of the inside of the uterus. You only want to consider this option if you are done having children. The success rate of ablation is fairly low, 35-40%. So you can see, ablation will help but will not necessarily cure the problem.
Myomectomy: This is the procedure for removing the fibroids. The majority of the time, the procedure will be done by making a bikini incision, is a fairly large surgery, and will require you to stay a day or two in the hospital. A robotic surgery is also available to remove the fibroids. If you are considering this option, make sure that you go to a doctor that has a lot of experience in which ever method you choose.
Hysterectomy: The majority of women with fibroids choose to have a hysterectomy. This procedure can be done vaginally, laparoscopically, and abdominally. I encourage you to consider laparoscopy and here is why: a physician performing a vaginal hysterectomy does not have the opportunity to look around your abdomen for other potential issues such as endometriosis.