Affecting 20 to 80% of women by the time they reach the age of 50, uterine fibroids are a common women’s health issue. They can cause no symptoms or be a constant source of discomfort. If your doctor has determined you have these growths during an exam, you may have many questions about it. Here’s more information about this condition to help you understand how it may affect you.
Your Guide to Uterine Fibroids
What Are They?
They are noncancerous growths that develop in the uterus. They aren’t harmful, but can cause pelvic pain or drops in red blood cell counts. There are several potential causes for them, including genetic changes and hormones associated with pregnancy, and general hormonal activity.
Uterine fibroids may also cause some complications during pregnancy. Studies have shown that 10 to 30% of women who have them experience pain during gestation, fetal growth restriction, preterm delivery, or placenta breaking away from the uterine wall. The likelihood of miscarriages also doubles.
What Are the Symptoms?
Fibroids can manifest without any symptoms. However, they are often associated with:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding and periods lasting over a week
- Frequent urination
- Pelvic, back, and leg pain
- Trouble emptying the bladder
African-American women are more likely to develop uterine fibroids. People with a family history may also be more susceptible.
What Are the Treatment Options?
If you don’t experience discomfort or the bothersome side effects mentioned above, these growths don’t require treatment. If you do, a doctor may prescribe medication to block estrogen and progesterone production or nonhormonal drugs to alleviate heavy menstrual cycles.
Nonsurgical options include using ultrasound pulses to heat and eliminate the fibroids. Surgical options include removal, injecting particles into the bloodstream to block blood flow to the growths, or laser treatments.
If you have concerns about uterine fibroids or are overdue for a women’s health exam, turn to Patients First Medical Clinic. Based in Anchorage, AK, this medical center is backed by 150 years of combined experience and offers a wide scope of services that range from pediatric care to urgent treatment. Call (907) 333-7425 to schedule a women’s health appointment, or visit their website to learn more about what they do.