Generations Women's Healthcare
Gynecology located in Norton, OH & Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Although they’re very common, most women don’t even realize they have uterine fibroids. When fibroids become symptomatic, heavy bleeding, nonstop periods, and other symptoms associated with these noncancerous growths are hard to ignore. Susan Clark, MD, and Lindsay Smith, PA-C, at Generations Women’s Healthcare in Norton and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, can answer your questions and develop a personalized treatment strategy. Women of all ages greatly appreciate the expert, patient-first care available at Generations Women’s Healthcare. Make an appointment today by calling the nearest office or using the online scheduling tool.
What are fibroids?
Common enough that most women can expect to develop one or more during their reproductive years, fibroids are growths that develop within or on the muscular wall of the uterus. Almost always benign (noncancerous), fibroids consist of muscular and connective tissue that clumps together and forms a mass (tumor).
Fibroids may remain quite small, about the size of an apple seed, or grow as large or larger than a grapefruit. They can occur singularly and create bulges in the inner or outer uterine wall or develop as grape-like clusters that hang into the uterine cavity (womb).
Fibroids form during your childbearing years and often shrink or disappear entirely when you reach menopause. You can ignore these benign growths unless they become symptomatic or create difficulty carrying a pregnancy full-term due to their size and location.
What are the symptoms of fibroids?
When fibroids become symptomatic, they can cause:
- Excessively heavy bleeding during and between menstrual periods
- Unusually long periods
- Lower back pain that may be mistaken for muscular strain
- A sensation of persistent fullness or bloating in the lower abdomen
- Sharp and stabbing pelvic or lower abdominal pain
- Urinary frequency and incontinence
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Chronic vaginal discharge
- Difficulty emptying your bladder, leading to more frequent urinary tract infections
Fibroids can grow large enough or become numerous enough to cause structural changes in the uterus. That may cause abdominal distention that mimics pregnancy.
Depending on their location, fibroids may also cause fertility issues and/or pregnancy complications such as placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, and preterm delivery.
How do you treat fibroids?
Effective fibroid treatment often depends on your symptoms, the number and size of the growths, and your desire for future pregnancies.
At Generations Women’s Healthcare, your personalized care plan starts with a detailed evaluation that typically includes a discussion of your symptoms, pelvic exam, and diagnostic imaging studies such as ultrasound or a specialized X-ray using contrast dye (hysterosalpingography) to view the uterus.
Treatment for fibroids may include:
- Hormonal birth control to control heavy bleeding
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone to temporarily shrink fibroids
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone to control heavy bleeding
- Medication for anemia, a common complication of symptomatic fibroids
- Minimally invasive procedures such as uterine fibroid embolization
- Minimally invasive procedures such as radiofrequency ablation
Surgery to remove fibroids may be required if you don’t respond to more conservative measures or the growths are interfering with your ability to conceive or carry a pregnancy full term.
Myomectomy is a type of surgery your provider may recommend to remove the problematic fibroid(s) while preserving the uterus. When myomectomy is not possible and your symptoms are severe, a hysterectomy that leaves the ovaries intact to prevent early menopause may be your best option.
Call Generations Women’s Healthcare today or book a visit online for an evaluation and discussion regarding your treatment options for uterine fibroids.