Uterine Fibroids: Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Not all fibroids require medication to shrink. While some might result in challenging symptoms requiring a surgical procedure, smaller fibroids do not even have symptoms. Fibroids can increase in size or shrink over time, depending on your hormone levels. Richard Strathmann OBGYN and his team at Women’s Healthcare Physicians of Naples strive to provide compassionate gynecological care to help women feel comfortable in their bodies. These professionals are experts at finding, diagnosing, and treating your uterine fibroids, relieving you of the painful symptoms.

What are the various types of fibroids you are likely to have?

Your doctor will categorize the fibroids depending on their location in or outside your uterus. Therefore, you could have:

  • Intramural fibroids. These are the most common growths you are likely to have. They appear within your uterus’ muscular wall and might increase significantly, stretching your womb.
  • Subserosal. You will have subserosal fibroids when the growths form outside of your uterus. As they grow bigger, the fibroids make your womb appear extensive on one side.
  • Submucosal fibroids. These rare tumors are likely to develop in your uterus’ myometrium (middle muscle layer).

What causes fibroids?

Doctors do not exactly know what causes fibroids. However, clinical experience and the following factors could influence the growth’s formation:

  • Hormones. Estrogen and progesterone produced by your ovaries force your uterine lining to regenerate with your every menstrual cycle, stimulating fibroids’ growth.
  • Genetics. You are likely to develop fibroids if your family members have a history of the condition.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnancy increases your body’s production of estrogen and progesterone. As a result, fibroids could develop and use the hormones to grow rapidly.

What symptoms will you have with fibroids?

It’s possible to have fibroids without any signs. Additionally, you may also not require any treatment apart from routine observations by your gynecologist (typical with small fibroids). However, when you have symptoms, they will be influenced by their size, location, and numbers. Larger tumors will make you experience several symptoms including:

  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bloating
  • Frequent urination
  • Low back pain
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Painful menstrual flow
  • Chronic vaginal discharge
  • Constipation
  • Increased abdominal enlargement
  • Difficulty emptying your bladder

How will your doctor treat fibroids?

After diagnosis, your doctor will devise a treatment plan based on your age, overall health, and fibroids’ size, as well as your accompanying symptoms. If your fibroids are smaller, your doctor might not need to take any immediate medical action. The specialist may recommend an ultrasound and periodic pelvic examinations.

Apart from the growth’s location, number and size, your treatment plan could also depend on your desire to get pregnant and wish to have the professional preserve your uterus.

Treatment options for uterine fibroids therefore include:

Medications: Your doctor will prescribe medications like

  • Pain relievers
  • Iron supplements
  • Birth control forms
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists

Surgery. While some surgeries might preserve your uterus, allowing you to get pregnant, other options could damage or eliminate your uterus. Your surgical options include:

  • Myomectomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Uterine fibroid embolization
  • Radiofrequency ablation

You can get pregnant and carry a pregnancy to term with fibroids. While small growths might not have any symptoms, larger fibroids could adversely affect your life quality. Schedule an appointment today if you are having any concerns about fibroids.

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