Uterine Fibroids: Symptoms and Treatment Options

uterine fibroid symptoms

Uterine fibroids are extremely common in women. One study estimates that 70% of white women and 80-90% of black women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lives. Luckily, only about 30% of those women experience symptoms.

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus.

What are the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?

  • Heavy or painful menstrual bleeding
  • A feeling of fullness or heaviness
  • Enlargement of the lower abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination or trouble emptying the bladder
  • Backache or leg pain
  • Painful intercourse

What Treatment Options are Available for Uterine Fibroids?

If the fibroids are not causing any symptoms, or if the symptoms are minimal, your doctor may decide to watch and wait to see if the fibroids grow or start to cause more severe symptoms.

If the fibroids are causing symptoms, here are some of your options:

Medication

  • Low dose birth control pills or IUD – These are used to help control heavy bleeding, but they will not shrink the fibroid.
  • GnRHa (gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist) – This is used to shrink fibroids but can only be used for a short time because it causes bone loss. It is often used right before surgery.
  • Tranexamic acid (Lysteda) – This is a nonhormonal medication used to control heavy bleeding.

Noninvasive or Minimally Invasive

There are many noninvasive or minimally invasive procedures used to treat uterine fibroids. These are just a few of the more common procedures:

  • Uterine artery embolization – In this procedure, tiny pieces of plastic or gel particles are inserted into the blood vessels that supply the fibroid with blood, causing the fibroid to shrink and die.
  • Myolysis – The doctor inserts a needle into the fibroid, destroying the fibroid through electric current or by freezing it.
  • Endometrial ablation – The doctor uses a needle with a laser or electric current to destroy the lining of the uterus.

Surgery

  • Myomectomy – This surgery removes very large or multiple uterine fibroids. The uterus is not removed, so patients may still be able to have children.
  • Hysterectomy – This surgery removes the uterus completely.

If you have questions or concerns about uterine fibroids, contact the compassionate well woman care physicians at All About Women in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida to schedule your appointment today.