What is a uterine fibroid?

Found in the muscle layers of a woman’s uterus, uterine fibroids are smooth, noncancerous tumors. Uterine fibroids can remain small, the size of a seed, or they can grow much larger, big enough to impact the size of the uterus. Every case is different. Sometimes, they called myomas or leiomyomas.

What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids can be asymptomatic, meaning they can exist without causing any signs or discomfort. However, should the fibroids begin to grow or multiply in number, women may experience very heavy periods, painful intercourse, constipation, back and/or leg pain, lower abdominal swelling, and urinary frequency. Should these symptoms occur, please contact your PGOMG provider to discuss how you are feeling and if there is a need to visit PGOMG.

 Will my fertility be affected?

Uterine fibroids can cause fertility issues. They are found in 20 percent of women of reproductive age, and about five to 10 percent of women who are infertile have fibroids. Uterine fibroids can affect fertility by changing the shape of the cervix or the shape of the uterus, which means that sperm may struggle to enter or move in these areas. Fallopian tubes can be blocked by the presence of uterine fibroids, and the lining of the uterus and blood flow in the area can also be affected. Fibroids can make it difficult to both conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy.

How will I be diagnosed and are there treatment options?

If you believe you have symptoms that indicate uterine fibroids, then your PGOMG provider will likely use an in-office ultrasound for screening. If fibroids are found, surgery is the most common method used for fibroid removal. This surgery can be performed in a few different ways — laparoscopic, robotic, or hysteroscopic. Your provider may also recommend using radiofrequency energy, but this will depend on your diagnosis. Fortunately, these procedures utilize a minimally invasive approach, so patients are able to return to daily life after a short period of recovery.