Uterine Fibroid Specialist in Dover, DE
Uterine fibroids are an especially tricky and perplexing condition to have. A majority of the time, these non-cancerous tumors within the uterus will not present any symptoms at all, making them quite difficult to diagnose.
For others, symptoms of fibroids can cause a wide range of troublesome symptoms including heavy menstrual bleeding and intense pain. Women who experience daily struggles due to their fibroid symptoms are encouraged to seek treatment because these symptoms will likely only worsen as the fibroid(s) continue to grow even larger over time.
Who is At-Risk?
African American women are more likely to develop fibroids and are also more likely to develop several fibroids at a time. But, there are other factors that could increase a woman’s risk of developing this condition. You may be at increased risk if you are:
- Over 40 years of age
- Have a family history of fibroids
- Have never been pregnant
- Have high blood pressure
Factors that lower a woman’s risk of developing fibroids include:
- Long-term use of birth control pills or shots
What are the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?
Every case is different and some women may never experience symptoms, but there are three common symptoms in women who have uterine fibroids.
Excessive Menstrual Bleeding
The most common symptom for women with fibroid tumors is excessive bleeding while menstruating. Often times, the bleeding is prolonged, causing periods to last longer than normal. This can lead to soiling of clothing and may interfere with everyday activities.
Pelvic Pain & Pressure
Women with fibroids may feel pain in their lower abdomen. As fibroids grow larger, depending on their size and location, they may cause pain by putting pressure on organs. In addition, it could cause swelling that is often mistaken as weight gain or pregnancy.
Loss of Bladder Control
Fibroids can press against the bladder causing frequent urination and even loss of bladder control. Not only can this cause a great deal of pain, it can disrupt your everyday activities. In addition, fibroid growth can place pressure on the bowel, causing constipation and bloating.
What Causes Fibroids to Grow?
Fluctuating hormone levels, specifically estrogen and progesterone, can cause changes in the size of fibroids. Symptoms caused by fibroids usually worsen during each menstrual cycle for this reason.
Women with fibroids that do not cause symptoms may not require treatment and can have hope that fibroids typically shrink during menopause because of the drop in estrogen.
Can Fibroids Be Prevented?
Aside from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there is no evidence that shows ways to prevent uterine fibroids from growing. The most important thing to keep in mind if you have been diagnosed with fibroids and are experiencing symptoms, is that there are many options available for treatment.
Uterine Fibroid Treatment Options
If you experience mild symptoms associated with your uterine fibroids, then you may be able to manage them with simple changes to your diet or daily routine. Some preliminary treatments to try at home include:
- Applying a hot compress to your lower abdomen several times a day can significantly reduce pain caused by uterine fibroids.
- Using over-the-counter pain relievers and blood thinners such as ibuprofen to reduce pressure and inflammation within the uterus can be quite helpful.
- Modifying your diet to cut out processed foods or foods that contain high levels of the estrogen hormone.
There are a variety of prescription medications that can be utilized to help regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, which can help to alleviate fibroid symptoms. Such medications can range from common forms of hormonal birth control to drugs specifically designed to treat uterine fibroids.
It should be noted that medications for fibroids are fairly new, meaning that their potential side effects are not entirely known.
This procedure is also known as a uterine artery embolization. The entire process is minimally invasive and only requires a small incision to be made for the tube that carries the embolic substance to the necessary arteries.
A myomectomy is the surgical removal of a fibroid. This treatment is ideal for those who have a fibroid that protrudes from the uterine wall. Any fibroid that is situated deep within the uterine tissue will be difficult to remove without causing significant damage or scarring to the uterus or the uterine lining.
Patients who experience especially severe complications as a result of their uterine fibroids may be recommended for a hysterectomy. This surgery involves the complete removal of the uterus, which subsequently is the only way to guarantee a permanent reprieve from uterine fibroids and their symptoms.
This procedure is not recommended for women looking to preserve their fertility as there is no natural way to conceive and carry a child without a uterus. Many who choose to undergo a hysterectomy will consider it as a last resort after attempting other, less invasive treatment methods.
How are Uterine Fibroids Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, schedule an appointment with Dedicated to Women ObGyn. Fibroids can usually be found during a simple abdominal or pelvic exam. If your doctor feels that you may have fibroids, an ultrasound or MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis.
Schedule a Consultation
To schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, call our office today at (302) 674-0223.