Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths which arise from the muscle tissue of the uterus. The size, growth, type, and location of fibroids vary from woman to woman. While they can occur at any age, fibroids are most commonly diagnosed in women in their 30’s and 40’s. Women who have fibroids may experience changes in menstruation including longer and more frequent periods and associated with an increase in pain. They may also experience pain in their abdomen and lower back during and after sex, difficulty urinating, abdominal cramps, and problems with fertility. The sort and severity of symptoms caused by fibroids depend on their characteristics and also vary among women.
Fibroids may be suspected during a routine pelvic exam or by a patient's history of pain or bleeding. Ultrasound is the least invasive and most common way to diagnose fibroids in a patient. Fibroids can also be confirmed during various surgeries, such as Cesarean sections, open abdominal surgeries, and minimally invasive surgeries, including hysteroscopies and laparoscopies.
Many women who have fibroids never exhibit any symptoms. However, in women who are experiencing heavy periods or pain, hormonal birth control may provide some relief and inhibit fibroid growth. Myomectomy is a surgical procedure that can be performed to remove fibroids while leaving the uterus in place. While the fibroids will not regrow, others may grow in their place. When no other treatments have worked or when fibroids become very large, a hysterectomy may be the best option. Even though it will end a woman’s reproductive years, hysterectomy will prevent fibroids and their associated pain from returning. The doctors of San Francisco Women's Healthcare are knowledgeable about the most current treatments available for uterine fibroids and will manage each patient individually to meet her needs.