What are fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are masses of muscle and other tissue that develop inside the uterus. There are different types, but the vast majority of these tumors are benign (noncancerous). You may not even know you have them, unless they cause pain or other discomfort.
Fibroids affect every woman differently. You may experience severe symptoms that impact your quality of life – or no symptoms at all.
Common symptoms include:
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Bleeding between menstrual periods, also called spotting
- Pain in your pelvic area or lower back
- Frequent bathroom trips, during the day and at night
- Pain during sexual intercourse
LVHN’s “centers of excellence” care approach means you will you be evaluated by providers who specialize in caring for women with concerns similar to yours.
In addition to a full pelvic exam, your provider may recommend one or more other tests to learn more about what’s causing your symptoms. These tests may include:
- Blood tests: Blood tests measure your hormone levels or other substances in your blood.
- Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to produce pictures that can confirm the location and size of fibroids. During an ultrasound, your provider will place a probe over your abdomen or in your vagina.
- Hysteroscopy: During this procedure, a doctor guides a thin, flexible tube (called a hysteroscope) through your vagina to closely assess the lining of the cervix and uterus.
- Biopsy: A doctor removes a small sample of tissue from the inner lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), for further analysis in a lab.
Our specialists will work with you to find the treatments that best relieve your symptoms. At LVHN, we consider you an active member of your care team. We will discuss all your treatment options as well as your preferences before coming up with a treatment plan that’s best for you.
We offer a wide range of fibroid treatments, including:
- Active surveillance: Also called “watchful waiting,” this is where your doctor watches you closely in lieu of more aggressive treatments. Your doctor may recommend this approach if your symptoms don’t affect your quality of life and your health is not at risk.
- Medication: Certain medications (such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists) can shrink fibroids and improve your symptoms by blocking your body’s estrogen production. Other medications work in different ways to target symptoms, such as heavy menstrual bleeding or pain.
- Uterine artery embolization: In this minimally invasive procedure, a doctor cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids, causing fibroids to shrink and your symptoms to improve.
- Surgery: Your doctor may recommend surgery as the best treatment for your circumstances:
- Myomectomy: A doctor removes the fibroids while leaving your uterus intact.
- Hysterectomy: A doctor removes the fibroids along with the entire uterus. At LVHN, our team performs hysterectomies using sophisticated robotics technology that leaves virtually no scar.