Uterine fibroids are growths made up of muscle cells and other tissue that grow on the lining of the uterus. Most growths are benign. They can be single growths or develop in clusters and can range in size from the size of an apple seed to the size of a grapefruit. Having fibroids does not increase a woman’s chances of developing uterine cancer.
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Pain and heavy menstrual bleeding are the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids.
Additional symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Pain during sex
- A feeling of fullness in the pelvic area
- Lower back pain
How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?
To find out if you have fibroids, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. He or she will do a pelvic exam to check the size of your uterus.
Your doctor may do an ultrasound or other tests to see inside your uterus. These help your doctor see how large your fibroids are and where they are growing.
Your doctor may also do blood tests to look for other problems.
How are uterine fibroids treated?
Over-the-counter pain medication is often used to alleviate pain. Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) can be prescribed to shrink the size of the fibroids prior to surgery. Surgery is often used for women with moderate to severe symptoms.