Uterine fibroids are the most common benign growths that occur in women of childbearing age. It’s important to seek quality medical care to treat your fibroids and prevent damage to your uterus.
The Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN team of physicians is highly skilled in treating gynecological disorders and female reproductive health complications, including fibroids. Visit one of their two offices in Newton and Walpole, Massachusetts.
Uterine Fibroids Are Non-Cancerous Growths
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. They typically appear during childbearing years and can range in size from small to large. If they grow large, they can distort and change the shape of the uterus. Some women might only get one fibroid, while others have multiple. Some fibroids can appear without symptoms and go unnoticed.
Your OB/GYN physician may find fibroids during your pelvic exam, even if you haven’t been experiencing any symptoms.
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
The symptoms often depend on the location, size, and number of fibroids, but some of the common symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Back and leg pain
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual periods that last longer than one week
Causes of Uterine Fibroids
The cause of fibroids isn’t exactly clear, and many factors play a part.
Genetic Changes. Some fibroids have gene changes making them different from normal uterine muscle cells.
Hormones. Experts believe estrogen and progesterone promote fibroid growth.
Diagnosing Uterine Fibroids
Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids grow slowly, and some don’t grow at all. If your fibroids don’t give you symptoms or are only mildly annoying, your women’s health specialist carefully monitors your condition.
If you are experiencing symptoms, your physician may prescribe medications that aim to regulate your hormones and menstrual cycle and treat heavy bleeding, pelvic pressure, and other troubling symptoms. Non-hormonal anti-inflammatory medicines are also helpful in relieving pain.
For more severe cases, your physician may recommend surgery. Special medication that can only be used short-term may be prescribed to shrink the fibroids before surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove the fibroids, which usually results in an improvement of symptoms like heavy periods or pelvic pain.
If you have fibroids and plan on having children, a myomectomy can be an alternative to a hysterectomy.
A myomectomy is a surgical procedure that is done to remove uterine fibroids, benign growths that can develop on the uterus and affect women during their reproductive years. Unlike a hysterectomy, where the doctor removes the entire uterus, a myomectomy leaves your uterus intact.
The nature of your myomectomy procedure depends on the number, location, and size of your uterine fibroids.
There are a few different surgical approaches your physician might take to remove your fibroids.
Abdominal Myomectomy. In this type of surgery, your physician makes an incision along your abdomen to reach your uterus and remove the fibroids. The incision may be horizontal along your bikini line or vertical across your lower stomach.
Laparoscopic Myomectomy. In a laparoscopic myomectomy, your surgeon makes a much smaller incision–or a series of small incisions–in or near your belly button. By inserting a laparoscope inside the incision, which is a thin tube with a camera attached to the end, your surgeon can access and remove the fibroids with tiny surgical tools. With laparoscopic surgery, you’ll have less pain and faster recovery time.
Recovery from a Myomectomy
Depending on the type of myomectomy you have, you might need to rest and recover for a few days. Some women experience light vaginal spotting or bleeding for a few days or weeks. After your body has healed, however, you can expect to have relief from any symptoms that you were experiencing before the procedure.
If your doctor recommended a myomectomy due to fertility problems, you will have better odds of conception afterward. Most women must wait at least 3 months before attempting to conceive, as the uterus needs time to heal.
A hysterectomy is a treatment option if you are done having children. It can help you find permanent relief from a variety of medical conditions, like uterine fibroids. Learn More
Treatment for Uterine Fibroids at Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN
Genetic Testing FAQs
To help you assess whether you may benefit from hereditary cancer testing, you need to discuss your risk of cancer with your healthcare professional and ask for further evaluation.
Genetic tests are performed on a sample of blood, hair, skin, amniotic fluid (if you are pregnant), or other tissue. The sample is then sent to a lab that specializes in genetic testing. The technicians look for specific changes in chromosomes, DNA, or proteins, depending on the suspected disorder. The lab returns the test results to the doctor who requested the test. It may take several weeks or longer to get the test results.
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required to pay for both genetic counseling and breast and gynecological cancer testing (e.g., Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) testing) for women who meet certain criteria. For these patients, insurance companies must cover the entire cost of genetic counseling and breast and gynecological cancer testing with no out-of-pocket costs to the individual.