A number of health conditions can affect how well your uterus works and can cause pain and other symptoms, including uterine fibroids. These growths can be completely harmless, or they can lead to heavy bleeding, pain, and many other unpleasant symptoms.
There are several ways we help you manage these growths, so let’s look at what these fibroids are, what causes them, and what we can do to treat them.
If you live in the Lake Mary, Florida, area and you’re dealing with pain and other symptoms related to uterine fibroids, Dr. Christopher Quinsey and our experienced medical staff can help ease the discomfort and treat this condition.
What are uterine fibroids?
Also referred to as leiomyomas, uterine fibroids are growths made of muscle and tissue from your uterine walls. Up to 80% of women deal with fibroids at some point in their lives.
These fibroids are often benign, and in those cases you may not even realize you have them. They can range in size from one millimeter to 20 centimeters (about 8 inches). The growths are generally noncancerous and can lead to such symptoms as:
- Heavy and irregular vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sex
- Frequent urination
- Low back pain
- Chronic vaginal discharges
There are four types of fibroids, with the ones that develop on the walls of your uterus (intramural) being the most common. The remaining three affect other areas, like the inner lining (submucosal), under the lining on the outer surface (subserosal), and those that attach to this organ with a stem or a stalk (pedunculated).
What causes uterine fibroids?
While the actual cause of uterine fibroids is unclear, hormonal and genetic factors are known to increase the risks of getting them.
Estrogen and progesterone are the common hormones responsible for the changes you go through during puberty. Fibroids are more likely to occur with high amounts of both hormones.
Early onset of menstruation can raise your chances of fibroids, as well as late-age menopause. Additionally, these growths are more likely to form if you have a family history of them, so if your grandmother, mother, and sister had them, there’s a higher risk you can get them as well.
Other factors like obesity and not having children can also lead to this condition. And while not common, the more severe complications of fibroids include unmanageable pain, abdominal or pelvic swelling, anemia, or infertility.
How are uterine fibroids treated?
If you have fibroids, here are some ways we help you deal with them:
This is a method of removing fibroids while preserving the surrounding tissue, in case you’re interested in having children after the procedure. It can be done either as a minimally invasive surgery or as an open surgery.
This procedure removes the growths by heating, freezing, or cutting the blood supply by way of a needle inserted into the fibroid. Doing this works to shrink and destroy the fibroids, but it can be dangerous if you are considering having children afterward.
There are a range of ways to perform endometrial ablation, such as with wire loops, electric current, or freezing. This procedure is designed to stop heavy bleeding by destroying the uterine lining. Pregnancy is not an option after ablation.
This is the only way to be certain you never have these fibroids again, but that’s because the surgery removes the uterus entirely. It can be performed laparoscopically, vaginally, or as an open abdominal procedure.
Uterine fibroids can be unpleasant and complicate your life, but there are ways to deal with them, and we’re here to help. Make an appointment with Dr. Quinsey and our team today to find the solution that works for you.