Uterine fibroids affect anywhere from 20-80% of women in the United States in their later childbearing years — typically in their 30s and 40s. While these growths are benign, they can become problematic if they grow in size or number. In fact, 30% of women between the ages of 25 and 44 develop symptoms because of uterine fibroids.
At Women’s Pavilion of the Palm Beaches, under the experienced care of Dr. Leroy Charles, our team routinely helps women in Greenacres, Florida, with symptomatic fibroids. In fact, Dr. Charles is known for his work in pioneering a laparoscopic technique that effectively treats fibroids.
If you’re wondering whether you should be worried about uterine fibroids, here’s what you need to know.
Uterine fibroids aren’t always problematic
As we stated above, uterine fibroids are very common among women in their childbearing years, especially those in their 30s and 40s. Because these benign growths can range in size from a kernel of rice to a grapefruit, you can see why fibroids range from asymptomatic to highly problematic.
Millions of women lead perfectly normal lives without even knowing that they have uterine fibroids. So if your fibroids are small, and remain so, they typically don’t interfere with your reproductive system and simply go away on their own after menopause — and you’re none the wiser.
If, however, your fibroids grow to a size or number that begins to interfere with your reproductive organs, uterine fibroids can cause moderate-to-severe symptoms that include:
- Pelvic pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Pain in your lower back
- Pain during sex
- A frequent urge to urinate
- A feeling of heaviness in your abdomen
- Problems with delivery
This last point is one that’s worth underscoring. Women with fibroids are six times more likely to require a Cesarean section during delivery.
How we address problematic uterine fibroids
If you’re plagued by symptoms caused by uterine fibroids, the good news is that there are several ways we can approach the problem. Our treatment plan is largely dictated by the degree of your symptoms, as well as the size, number, and location of your fibroids.
For example, if your primary symptom is heavy bleeding, we may treat the problem with low-dose birth control or an intrauterine device (IUD), which should help reduce your flow during your menstrual cycles.
If your fibroids are on the larger end, we may recommend using a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist which can shrink your fibroid.
If your fibroids are large and they’re causing serious quality-of-life issues, including problems delivering a child, we may recommend a surgical procedure called a myomectomy to remove the fibroid(s). This goal behind this procedure is to preserve your uterus while eliminating the problem, which is important for women who want to continue to have children.
Our own Dr. Charles is also one of the pioneers of a surgical technique called a laparoscopic uterine artery ligation, which helps successfully treat uterine fibroids.
The last, and most aggressive, treatment is a hysterectomy, in which we remove your uterus, fibroids and all.
If you’re struggling with symptomatic uterine fibroids, please give us a call at 561-264-2055 or use the easy online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.