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Summit Medical Group: Thrive - July 2019
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How Much Do You Know About Fibroids?

If you’ve been told you have fibroids, you are not alone. Fibroids are muscular tumors in the wall of the uterus. Fibroids are almost always noncancerous. They are very common in women of childbearing age. By age 50, up to 70 percent of white women and 90 percent of African-American women may have fibroids. After menopause, the tumors usually shrink.

You may never have any problems from them. Many women don’t. Or you may notice symptoms such as:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Painful periods
  • Pain during sex
  • Low back pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling of fullness in the lower belly
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Problems during labor and delivery

Medication Management

To manage milder symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medication, like the following:

  • Pain relievers (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen) to ease mild pain
  • Hormonal birth control (such as certain birth control pills or the Mirena IUD) to reduce heavy bleeding during periods
  • Iron supplements to prevent anemia caused by heavy periods
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (such as Lupron) to treat anemia or shrink fibroids prior to surgery

When Surgery Is Needed

If you have more severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure, such as:

  • Myomectomy to remove fibroids while leaving the rest of the uterus intact—a good choice for women who want to become pregnant later
  • Hysterectomy to remove the entire uterus
  • Endometrial ablation to destroy the lining of the uterus, which reduces heavy bleeding during periods
  • Myolysis to destroy fibroids with an electric current or freezing
  • Uterine fibroid embolization to block the blood supply to fibroids, which causes them to shrink

The choice of procedure depends on the size, location, and number of your fibroids as well as whether you want to have children in the future.

Laura Zimmermann, MD, SMG obstetrician says, “While fibroids are extremely common, not all women suffer symptoms. Sometimes it is an incidental finding. However, if you find you are having any symptoms or problems, like heavy bleeding or pelvic pain, these issues are very treatable. I would recommend you do not hesitate to discuss it with your gynecologist.”

When Should I Seek Treatment?
Our obstetricians and gynecologists have expertise in all aspects of OB-GYN medicine, including uterine fibroids. If you are having uncomfortable symptoms, like the ones presented above, talk with one of our providers. He or she can discuss several available treatment options.
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