About 80% of women who have fibroids experience no symptoms. The other 20% may experience pain or other discomforts due to the size of the fibroids. These include heavy bleeding during your period or between periods, and prolonged periods. Another concerning symptom is bleeding after intercourse.
If you have been experiencing the above discomforts or abdominal pain, you could have fibroids. When you come into our office with abdominal pain, we will run tests to determine the origin of your pain. Other causes of abdominal pain include endometriosis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
What are Fibroids?
You may be wondering what fibroids are. Fibroids are tumors in the uterus that are usually benign. Growing from the wall of the uterus, fibroids can either expand inward or outward. Generally, outwardly-growing fibroids are the ones that cause pain and discomfort.
If you see us regularly for pelvic exams, we will likely be able to find outwardly-facing fibroids before they cause discomfort. When we find fibroids during a pelvic exam, we keep a close eye on them to ensure they are benign.
Most of the time, we recommend keeping an eye on fibroids with annual ultrasounds. However, if your fibroids are causing pain, we offer several treatment options. Treatments include ablation, Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE), Myomectomy, and hysterectomy.
Ablation is a procedure in which the lining inside your uterus is burned to decrease the size of the fibroid. We only recommend this procedure to women who are done having children as the tool sends electrical currents throughout the uterus. Since ablation only burns the top layer of the fibroids, its success rate is only 35-40%. Other treatment options have more lasting results.
A Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) is a procedure for women looking to avoid surgery. An invasive radiologist will insert a catheter into an artery in your leg. This will block blood flow to your uterus, which will shock your uterine system. Over several months, your fibroids will decrease in size due to less blood flow.
A Myomectomy is an invasive surgery to remove fibroids. Your surgeon will make a bikini incision and extract the fibroids from your uterus. This is a fairly large surgery, requiring one to two days in the hospital afterward.
A hysterectomy is the most common fibroid-removal option. Though it is a bigger surgery, it removes your entire uterus, removing the fibroids and any future fibroid concern. As with ablation, our patients must first be certain that they no longer want to have children. If you have a fibroid problem post-menopause, a hysterectomy may still be performed.
Schedule Your Exam
There is no reason for you to be in pain when there are treatments available. If you are experiencing any abdominal pain, please schedule an appointment with us by calling (530) 345-0064, extension 281.