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Uterine Fibroids

What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign growths of the uterus made of smooth muscle and connective tissue that often appear in women of reproductive age. These fibrous tumors may range in size from too small to be seen by the human eye to bulky masses that can distort and enlarge the uterus.

As many as 20–80% of women develop fibroids by age 50, but many women with uterine fibroids don’t experience any symptoms. Asymptomatic patients don’t require treatment, and it’s very rare for uterine fibroids to become malignant.

Learn more below about the signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids and treatments we offer to help get you back to normal life.

Causes of Uterine Fibroids

The cause of uterine fibroids is not known today. Through research and clinical studies, some experts believe hormones, changes in genetics or other growth factors.

Risk of Uterine Fibroids

Risk factors for uterine fibroids may include:

  • Race (Black women are more likely to have fibroids than women of other racial groups)
  • Obesity or higher body weight
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Family history of fibroids
  • Not having children
  • Early onset menstruation
  • Late onset menopause

Signs & Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

Many women with uterine fibroids don’t experience any symptoms. In those who do, the symptoms can vary based on the number, size, and location of fibroids.

Common signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids may include:

  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Chronic vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pressure or pain
  • Bloating or a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen
  • Frequent urination
  • Inability to urinate or completely empty the bladder
  • Constipation or rectal pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower back pain
  • Enlarged or distended abdomen
  • Reproductive problems, including infertility, multiple miscarriages, or early labor

 

Diagnosing Uterine Fibroids

To diagnose uterine fibroids, your physician may ask you about your symptoms and family history and perform a routine pelvic exam. They may also use a transvaginal ultrasound or MRI to confirm the presence of uterine fibroids.

Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

Fortunately, only a small percentage of women with fibroids need treatment, and it’s very rare for uterine fibroids to become cancerous. If you don’t have any symptoms, you may not need treatment at all.

We use a procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) to treat uterine fibroids. This is a minimally invasive, same-day procedure allowing early return to normal activity. Small particles are injected via catheter into the blood vessels surrounding the fibroids, reducing blood flow to the fibroids to shrink their size and improve symptoms.

Prevention of Uterine Fibroids

Since the cause(s) of uterine fibroids are not known, there’s little scientific evidence about how to prevent them.

A healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk of fibroids, including maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet with less red meat, lower alcohol consumption, and lots of fruits and vegetables.

Contact Your Doctor If...

you experience pain during sex, have heavy and painful periods, chronic vaginal discharge, lower back pain or reproductive problems, including infertility, multiple miscarriages, or early labor. Our team is here to help make sense of what you are experiencing and get you the help you need.

Dr. Neal Khurana

Dr. Neal Khurana specializes in treatment and care for chronic venous disease. He is a board-certified and fellowship-trained interventional radiologist experienced in a variety of conditions and endovascular treatments.

Contact us or call 605-217-5617 to schedule an appointment.

Next Steps

VIS is here to help. If you are at risk for aortic disease or have experienced one or more of the signs & symptoms, please reach out to schedule a screening. We’ll walk this journey with you.