If you are concerned you may have fibroids, a uterine fibroid diagnosis can confirm if your symptoms are associated with fibroids and determine the best approach to getting rid of them. At USA Fibroid Centers, our interventional radiologists, who are fibroid specialists, focus solely on fibroids and are experts in diagnosing fibroids and ensuring patients are candidates for non-surgical fibroid treatment.

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Importance of a Uterine Fibroid Diagnosis

Many women suffering from abnormal bleeding, cramping, frequent urination, and other uterine issues don’t realize fibroids may be to blame. Unfortunately, there is a widespread lack of awareness surrounding fibroids, fibroid symptoms, and fibroid treatment. Learning how to detect fibroids on your own by understanding common fibroid symptoms and then seeking a uterine fibroid diagnosis can help alleviate your painful symptoms. For some, fibroids may negatively impact their careers, social life, personal relationships, and self-esteem

If you are experiencing fibroid symptoms, consult a fibroid specialist at USA Fibroid Centers to start your path to a fibroid-free life. Whether it is your first diagnosis or a second opinion, an accurate medical diagnosis is encouraged to ensure you take the best step toward individualized treatment and relief from fibroids.

How to Diagnose Fibroids With Your Doctor

Uterine fibroids are usually detected during a routine pelvic exam. Although up to 80 percent of women are affected by fibroids by age 50, many remain unaware of their existence. Some of these women may not realize their periods are considered abnormal, or they may only experience mild symptoms (or none at all).  

Others may seek a diagnosis because of debilitating symptoms, making it challenging to work, move around, have sex, or socialize.

Tests for Uterine Fibroids

There are a variety of tests available for detecting uterine fibroids, ranging from pelvic exams to ultrasounds. Depending on your situation, your doctor may suggest a combination of diagnostic exams for proper treatment. 

Doctors may use a combination of exams to detect fibroids, such as a pelvic exam, ultrasound, MRI, hysterosonography, and hysteroscopy.

Pelvic exam 

Pelvic exams are crucial to diagnosing fibroids, mainly when used with imaging techniques like ultrasound or MRI and analyzing a patient’s symptoms and medical history. 

For the exam, doctors generally follow the steps highlighted below: 

Bimanual exam: The doctor or nurse manually feels the uterus and ovaries by pressing on the lower abdomen while simultaneously inserting fingers into the vagina. Fibroids, especially larger ones or those located near the surface of the uterus, can often be felt during this examination. 

External exam: This part doesn’t directly focus on detecting fibroids, but it still provides valuable information, as it’s easier to notice an enlarged or irregularly shaped uterus. 

Rectovaginal exam: Though less common, this exam can help diagnose fibroids. By inserting a finger into the rectum, doctors can assess the back wall of the uterus and detect any fibroids pushing against it. This exam is beneficial in detecting fibroids located towards the back of the uterus.

Although pelvic exams are helpful diagnostic tools, they alone cannot definitively diagnose fibroids. Imaging studies, like an ultrasound or MRI, are often needed to confirm the presence of fibroids, determine their size and location accurately, and evaluate their potential impact on surrounding organs.

Ultrasound  

Ultrasound imaging is pivotal in diagnosing fibroids by offering a non-invasive, real-time visualization of the uterus and fibroids. It is an essential tool in fibroid mapping to determine treatment by providing more detailed information about the size, location, number, and type of fibroids within. 

There are a couple of different ultrasound methods doctors can use:

Transabdominal ultrasound: This method involves applying a water-based gel to the abdomen and using a handheld device (a transducer) to emit high-frequency sound waves. The sound waves bounce off internal structures, creating images on a monitor. Transabdominal ultrasound is best for assessing larger fibroids and providing information about their size, shape, and location within the uterus.

Transvaginal ultrasound: In transvaginal ultrasound, the doctor inserts a slender transducer into the vagina for a better view of the uterus and ovaries. This method makes it easier to detect fibroids that are not as noticeable in a transabdominal ultrasound, such as smaller fibroids and those located near the uterine lining. 

When using ultrasounds for fibroid diagnosis, some of the advantages include: 

  • It’s non-invasive: Ultrasounds are comfortable and safe as they do not require incisions or injections.
  • Uses real-time imaging: Providing immediate images enables clinicians to assess fibroids and any abnormalities promptly.
  • No radiation exposure: Since ultrasound does not expose patients to ionizing radiation, it is safer for pregnant women or those requiring multiple imaging sessions.
  • It’s cost-effective: It is relatively inexpensive, making it more accessible for routine screening and follow-up exams.

Additionally, ultrasound machines are readily available, making them a convenient option for diagnosing fibroids. While ultrasound can provide valuable initial information, in some cases, further imaging with MRIs may be necessary for details about the characteristics and precise location of the fibroids. 

For more intricate imaging, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and hysterosonography are utilized to gain additional insights after an ultrasound. An MRI offers a detailed view, whereas hysterosonography improves visualization of the uterine cavity by introducing saline. Hysteroscopy, a more invasive procedure, involves the insertion of a camera directly into the uterus. These methods are more complex and invasive, so it’s important to consult with a fibroid specialist to determine the most suitable diagnostic approach for your situation.

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Diagnosis & Prognosis of Fibroids

If you receive a uterine fibroids diagnosis, you may be concerned about your prognosis. Although fibroids are generally not dangerous, they can potentially harm surrounding organs, impact fertility, and cause pain or discomfort.

Fibroid treatment is effective and widely available regardless of the type, size, or number of fibroids. Treatment options include fibroid surgery, such as a hysterectomy or myomectomy, and non-surgical methods like uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).

UFE is a minimally invasive procedure that effectively eliminates fibroid symptoms and quickly returns you to normal daily activities. At USA Fibroid Centers, we offer uterine fibroid embolization so that you can go back to a life free from suffering due to fibroid symptoms. 

How to Check for Fibroids at Home

Because fibroid symptoms are often similar to other reproductive conditions, a thorough evaluation by a doctor is crucial to ensure an accurate diagnosis of fibroids. Early detection of fibroids can ensure your symptoms do not worsen and all treatment methods are available to you.

While there’s no way to definitively diagnose fibroids at home before scheduling an appointment, awareness of common fibroid symptoms can be an important first step:

  • Heavy and prolonged menstruation between or during your periods
  • Anemia, which can lead to fatigue
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation and/or bloating
  • Pain in your pelvis or lower back
  • Increased menstrual cramping
  • Stomach swelling

A fibroid’s size and location affect which symptoms, if any, women may experience. Fibroids can develop individually or in numbers and range in size from a tiny pea to as large as a melon. 

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Contact USA Fibroid Centers for Fibroid Relief

If you are experiencing symptoms that might be related to uterine fibroids, we encourage you to seek medical evaluation as soon as possible. Our top-rated fibroid specialists at USA Fibroid Centers can help you get a uterine fibroid diagnosis and explore your full range of treatment options. 

We have dozens of convenient clinic locations across the United States. To learn more about how uterine fibroid embolization can help you reclaim your life, schedule an appointment at one of our clinics near you.

 

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Life with fibroids can be painful and challenging. Timely detection and treatment of fibroids can relieve symptoms, as well as reduce your risk for hysterectomy.

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