Uterine fibroids can range from pea to grapefruit size and cause a variety of symptoms. Some patients have no symptoms, while others suffer from severe pain and excessive menstrual bleeding due to uterine fibroids. Leroy Charles, MD, FACOG, in Greenacres, Florida, can help with uterine fibroids in several ways, ranging from medication to surgery.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that typically appear in the uterus during a woman's childbearing years. Uterine fibroids are usually found during a yearly well-woman exam, although they may be discovered during a pap smear or other types of exams. In many cases, uterine fibroids can be felt during a pelvic exam, but diagnostic imaging may be used to determine the location and size of the growths.
Fibroids almost always occur in women who are in their childbearing years, but in rare cases, they may occur after the onset of menopause. Most women who have uterine fibroids are in their 30s or 40s, but fibroids can occur in younger or older patients as well. If you have a close family member — especially your mother or sister — who suffers from uterine fibroids, you're more likely to have them.
African-American women have a higher risk for uterine fibroids, although all women can have these growths. Women also have an increased risk of developing uterine fibroids if they are overweight. Fibroids can also develop during pregnancy.
It depends on the patient. Many women have uterine fibroids that remain the same size for long periods of time, but others experience dramatic fibroid growth over just a few months. If fibroids remain the same size, they're less likely to cause pain or other symptoms. However, fibroids that expand rapidly are likely to cause physical symptoms.
In cases where fibroids cause symptoms, women are likely to experience any or all of the following:
The treatment for uterine fibroids depends on the type of symptoms you’re experiencing. If you have no symptoms, treatment may be unnecessary, since fibroids aren't cancerous or otherwise harmful. However, if you're suffering from fibroid symptoms, Dr. Charles can create a customized treatment plan. This may include: