Uterine fibroid tumors are a common occurrence during the childbearing years, affecting as many as 80 percent of women by age 50. Despite their prevalence, fibroid tumors often go unnoticed until painful, uncomfortable, and unpleasant symptoms arise, such as heavy periods, severe cramps, and low energy.
If you are experiencing fibroid tumor symptoms, you probably already know how challenging it can be to cope with this condition. For some, fibroid symptoms are completely debilitating –– impacting career, social life, personal relationships, and self-esteem.
The good news is that by learning more about uterine fibroids and potential treatment for fibroid tumors, you will be able to better take control of your health. Whether you’ve been diagnosed already or are still searching for answers, our fibroid experts are here to guide you. Here’s everything you need to know about fibroid tumors in the uterus and what to do about them.
What is a Fibroid Tumor?
What are uterine fibroid tumors? Also known as leiomyomas, fibroids, or fibroid tumors –– fibroids are benign, noncancerous growths that can develop in or on the uterus. They form individually or in clusters, and typically range in size from a tiny pea to as large as a melon. Some of the largest ones can weigh more than twenty pounds.
Although fibroid tumors are not generally considered dangerous, uterine fibroids have the potential to harm surrounding organs, impact fertility, and cause a range of painful and undesirable symptoms.
Each body is different, and everyone experiences fibroids differently.
What Causes Fibroid Tumors?
Although doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes uterine fibroids, factors that may influence their growth include hormones, genetics, and age.
Studies indicate that fibroids tend to grow during times when the levels of hormones affecting the uterine lining –– such as estrogen and progesterone –– are high. For example, pregnancy is a common time for fibroid growth, whereas fibroid tumors tend to shrink after giving birth or beyond menopause.
Your age is an important risk factor. While you can develop fibroids at any age, if you are in your childbearing years, the odds of developing them are higher. On the other hand, women beyond age 50 are less likely to experience symptomatic fibroids.
Finally, there appears to be a genetic link. If you have a close female relative with fibroids, you are more likely to develop them. Also, women of African-American descent are disproportionately affected by fibroid tumors.
Fibroid Tumor Symptoms
The majority of people with uterine fibroids experience no noticeable symptoms. However, some cases of fibroids can be quite debilitating, and the condition can disrupt daily activities. Whether or not this occurs often depends on the size, number, and location of the fibroids. All of these factors can affect the severity of symptoms. Larger or multiple fibroids, for instance, are more likely to cause problems. Common symptoms of fibroid tumors include:
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Heavy periods lasting 10 days or longer
- Abnormal bleeding between periods
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Lower back pain
- Frequent need to urinate or trouble urinating
- Heaviness or fullness of the abdomen
- Anemia caused by heavy bleeding
- Enlargement of the abdomen
You may notice only one of the above, several symptoms, or none at all. If you are experiencing any of these issues, be sure to reach out to your doctor or a fibroid specialist, since it is important to seek a proper medical diagnosis. Similar symptoms may actually be signs of other, more serious conditions of the reproductive tract. Early detection is key for the most successful outcomes.
For additional help assessing your symptoms, please feel free to use our online symptom checker. You may be relieved to learn that a lesser-known outpatient treatment –– involving a nonsurgical method –– is effective, widely available, and can alleviate your symptoms while retaining your fertility.
Treatment for Uterine Fibroid Tumors
We want you to know that help is available, and there are many different treatments available for fibroid tumors in the uterus. The ideal treatment for you will depend on the location, number, and size of your fibroids, as well as your personal preferences. Once diagnosed, we recommend consulting with a fibroid specialist to learn about your full range of fibroid tumor treatment options.
The first step toward getting treatment is always an assessment of the fibroids. Suspected fibroid tumors can often be detected during a routine pelvic exam. If your doctor thinks you may have fibroids, they’ll likely order an ultrasound or MRI. Your doctor will use the images generated by these exams to map out your fibroids, noting the number of tumors along with their location and measurements.
Once you know a little more about your fibroids, you can start considering your fibroid tumor treatment options. Although hysterectomy, or surgical removal of the uterus, is one of the most commonly recommended treatments, it is important to be aware that you have other options.
Hysterectomy is a major surgery involving a hospital stay that involves a number of risks such as excessive bleeding, infection, blood clots, and an adverse reaction to general anesthesia. Additionally, a typical recovery can take six to eight weeks. For women who desire to have children in the future, hysterectomy –– particularly when performed unnecessarily –– can be devastating.
Ready to Seek Treatment for Fibroids?
At USA Fibroid Centers, we aim to educate women on all their available options. For most women with fibroid tumors, there’s a better treatment path than major surgery. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), a nonsurgical fibroid tumor treatment, is performed by our fibroid experts in state-of-the-art facilities. After going home on the same day, most patients experience a short recovery period that is typically only one to two weeks. Perhaps even more important –– UFE leaves your uterus and ovaries intact.
Living with symptoms of fibroid tumors can certainly be challenging, but you’re not alone. With treatment, there’s hope for a life without fibroid tumor symptoms, and it doesn’t have to involve surgery. At USA Fibroid Centers, we’ll support you through every step of your treatment journey, from the initial diagnosis, to Uterine Fibroid Embolization, to recovery –– and beyond.
Whether you need guidance from an expert, insurance coverage information, or a personalized treatment plan, our fibroid specialists can help. Reach out to us and schedule your consultation today. Our top-rated fibroid specialists are available to perform Uterine Fibroid Embolization at dozens of USA Fibroid Centers across the country.
To get started, you can either go online to schedule, or just give us a call at 855.615.2555. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you reclaim your life!