Uterine fibroids are common, non-cancerous growths in the uterus made up of muscle and fibrous tissue. Up to 80% of women get fibroids by the time they reach 50, in many cases starting around 35 or later. But whether you get symptoms from fibroids can depend on many things, and they can range from being completely asymptomatic to causing chronic pelvic pain.
So what are the causes of fibroids, when should you consider getting them removed, and how are they treated?
If you live in Las Vegas, Nevada and you need treatment for uterine fibroids, Dr. Staci McHale and our compassionate staff at New Beginnings OB-GYN are there to help women at every stage in their life deal with this and many other conditions.
While the actual causes of fibroids are unknown, it’s believed by many doctors that they develop in the stem cells in the smooth muscular tissues of the uterus. One stem cell divides repeatedly, creating a mass different from nearby tissue. How fibroids affect you depends on how slowly or rapidly they grow. They can grow or shrink on their own, or they may stay the same size and not affect you at all. There are many things that can increase the chances of getting uterine fibroids:
There are different types of fibroids that can affect different areas of the uterus, and present different problems. Intramural fibroids are most common, located in the muscular uterine wall. But other fibroids can grow outside of the uterus (subserosal fibroids), can develop a stem (pedunculated fibroids), and rarely develop in the middle muscular uterine layer (submucosal).
Regardless of which type of fibroid you have the primary considerations for removing fibroids are connected to their risks to both your health and your child’s health if you’re pregnant (some fibroids are able to cause infertility and miscarriage). Removal of fibroids may be considered if you’re dealing with these symptoms:
Fibroids can be treated in a variety of ways:
Medications can be used to shrink fibroids (leuprolide, or Lupon®, ganirelix acetate, cetrorelix acetate, or elagolix) and help control bleeding and pain (intrauterine device, or IUD, over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, or birth control pills).
There are many myolysis (procedures to destroy muscle tissue) treatments. Examples include forced ultrasound surgery (FUS) which can destroy fibroids, cryomyolysis freezes them while others use laser or electric current to shrink them.
Myomectomies can be done a few different ways and are quite successful at relieving symptoms. If the problem is severe and you’re not planning on having children, a hysterectomy may be necessary, which removes part or all of the uterus.
If you’re having symptoms of uterine fibroids, there are many ways to manage or eliminate them if necessary. When you’re ready to get help, make an appointment with Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN today to get started.