Fibroids are benign tumors that grow on or in the muscular walls of the uterus. Some fibroid tumors don’t produce any symptoms at all, while others can be severely symptomatic. It is common for a woman to have multiple fibroid tumors and it may be difficult to understand which fibroid is causing specific symptoms. They grow in the uterus, in the uterine wall, on the surface, or on stalk-like structures inside or outside the uterus. They’re usually benign, meaning they are not cancerous, and women who have them are not more susceptible to cancer. Fibroids can vary tremendously in size, location and shape. Many women never realize they have them, as fibroids often are asymptomatic.
Women who are asymptomatic need to continue monitoring their fibroids and continue to see their doctor regularly.
Fibroids usually show up during your childbearing years, but they can appear at any time. Heredity and hormones seem to be the greatest determining factor, with African American women more susceptible. Estrogen and progesterone seem to affect the growth of fibroids. One theory states that a single stem cell in the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus might begin dividing rapidly to produce these growths.
Facts about Uterine Fibroids
Some fibroids grow slowly, some quickly, and some remain the same size for long periods of time. Some fibroids go through growth spurts and some eventually shrink on their own. Uterine fibroid shrinking is not all that uncommon, especially in women who entered menopause. Uterine fibroids cause pain because they place pressure on the surrounding organs. If they grow large enough to cause a swollen uterus, they can be very uncomfortable.
On occasion, the fibroids outgrow their blood supply and begin to die, which is also quite painful. You should see your doctor if any of the symptoms listed below become suddenly worse or debilitating.
What Are the Most Common Fibroid Symptoms?
The most common symptoms may include:
- Heavy menstrual flow, bleeding between periods
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Unexplained weight gain
- Pressure, pain, or fullness in your stomach
- An enlarged uterus (or a hard mass or lump in your uterus)
- Infertility issues
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Miscarriages or infertility
- Back ache or leg pains
- Significant changes in your uterus size (normal uterus vs. not)
Diagnosing Uterine Fibroids
Your Forest Hills, New York gynecologist follows a standard set of exams to determine the kind and severity of your fibroids. These tests may consist of:
- Pelvic exam
- Lab tests
- An MRI
- Hysterosonography, which is a saline infusion in your uterus to better use the sonogram
- Hysterosalpingography, for which a dye used to highlight your uterine cavity and fallopian tubes for an X-ray
- Hysteroscopy, which uses a lighted telescope and saline solution, entering in through your vagina, past your cervix and into your uterus
After determining the kind, location, and size of the uterine fibroids in or on your uterus, treatment options can be determined. The best fibroid doctors who are a part of the Forest Hills Medical services team are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat your symptomatic uterine fibroids and adenomyosis. We will provide you with a definitive and correct diagnosis, ruling out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
We offer a full range of both minimally invasive and surgical treatments for your symptomatic fibroids. We start each patient relationship with the goal of always recommending the course of treatment that is best for you and your unique circumstances.
Fibroids and Pregnancy
The uterine fibroid and pregnancy don’t mix well, but it’s not a direct correlation. The presence of fibroids themselves is not necessarily associated with infertility, but if they’re located along the inner uterine wall, it may make it difficult for a fertilized egg to attach. In rare instances, the fibroids may block the fallopian tubes.
Among the complications caused by the presence of a uterine fibroid and pregnancy are placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, preterm labor and pelvic pain and heavy bleeding after delivery that requires surgery.
Uterine Fibroid Treatment
There are several factors that will determine which is the best course of treatment for you, including your age, your risk factors, how bad your symptoms are, the location, type and size of your fibroids, etc.
Diagnosis and Watchful Waiting
Some women have fibroids, but do not experience any symptoms that affect their daily life. If your fibroids do not cause any symptoms, there is no need to treat them. Your doctor may want to monitor your fibroids and watch for growth at your annual exam. If your symptoms become severe enough to affect your daily routine, you and your Forest Hills, New York gynecologist may choose to follow some of these uterine fibroid treatments:
COMPARE TREATMENT OPTIONS
|Uterine Fibroid Embolization||Minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedure blocks the blood flow to fibroid tumors, causing them to shrink. Performed by an interventional radiologist.||No general anesthesia required. Very small incision. Typical recovery less than one week. Less risk of major complications than surgical procedures. A single treatment is about 90% effective.||Post-procedural pain that generally dissipates in a few days. Complications may include mild fatigue or low-grade fever.|
|Myomectomy||Surgical removal of fibroid tumors.||Relieves symptoms and preserves uterus. Some myomectomy procedures can be performed on patients with cancer.||Risks associated with major surgery, general anesthesia, and hospitalization. Up to six weeks of recovery. Fibroids can recur.|
|Hysterectomy||Surgical removal of the uterus.||Permanently relieves symptoms.||Loss of fertility. Risks associated with major surgery, general anesthesia, and hospitalization. Up to six weeks of recovery. Hormonal changes and potential long-term side effects if ovaries are removed.|
|MR-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUs)||Ultrasound waves penetrate the abdominal wall and heat fibroid tissue, causing the tumor to shrink.||Procedure can take several hours. Usually only appropriate for small fibroids near the surface of the uterus. Some insurance plans may not cover. Fibroids may recur.||No incision. One- to two-day recovery with minimal discomfort. Preserves uterus.|
|Hormone Treatment||Hormones moderate the production of estrogen and progesterone, putting patient in temporary postmenopausal state. When hormone production decreases, fibroids shrink and symptoms improve.||Non-surgical. Preserves uterus. No anesthesia; no recovery time.||Symptoms return when treatment stops. Some treatments will pause fertility. Recommended for a maximum of six months; otherwise may lead to early menopause-like symptoms, including osteoporosis (bone loss).|
Forest Hills Medical Services is a comprehensive clinical practice. In our office we believe that how you are treated is just as important as the medical care we provide. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality obstetrics and gynecology with warmth and compassion. Our physicians are easy to talk to and our entire staff is friendly and attentive to your needs.
The best gynecologists in Queens who are part of the Forest Hills Medical Services team are experts in distinguishing fibroids and identifying their various stages of growth, calcified fibroids included.
We will listen to all your concerns and together we will come up with the treatment plan that works for you and your unique circumstances.
Call FHMS to meet our staff in our state-of-the-art offices and be heard.
Gynecologists Dr. James Gohar (OBGYN Doctor), Dr Nithya Gopal and Maris Huffman, NP
Forest Hills Medical Services
108-16 63rd Rd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
☎ (718) 897-5331