Fibroids- Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Patient with doctorUterine fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or just outside the uterus.   They form when the smooth muscle cells of the uterus (myometrium) begin to grow rapidly and advance into tumors, which are typically non-cancerous. These tumors vary in size and can be as small as a pumpkin seed or as large as a grapefruit and in unusual cases, much larger.

Fibroids are very common. It is estimated that 70 to 80 % of women will develop tumors by the age of 50. Although the causes are unknown, there are factors that put some at a greater risk than others-they are:

  • Family history
  • Pregnancy
  • Being overweight
  • Having African American ancestry
  • Being over the age of 30

The symptoms of fibroids depend on the size, location and the number of tumors present.  Symptoms include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Heavy bleeding and blood clots between and during periods
  • Increased urination
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Enlargement of the lower abdomen
  • Increased time of menstruation
  • Pressure or a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen

Women who have very small tumors or are going through menopause may experience very little or no symptoms at all.

Fibroids are diagnosed by gynecologists by way of pelvic exams and ultrasound or MRI.   Your doctor will create a treatment plan based on symptoms and the advancement of the growth.  Treatment may consist of medication to regulate hormone levels, assist in shrinking the tumor or alleviate pain. Surgery may be performed laparoscopically to remove tumors, however, if your condition is extreme, your physician may recommend a hysterectomy.

Jamaica Hospital’s Gynecologic Division uses the latest techniques and equipment, such as ultrasonography, color Doppler, laser and laparoscopic surgery, in the diagnoses and treatment of female disorders. These disorders include sexually transmitted diseases, abnormal pap smears, benign tumors, and female urinary disorders, including urinary incontinence. To schedule an appointment, please contact our Women’s Health Center at 718-291-3276 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.