Leiomyoma or myoma are other names for uterine fibroids — non-cancerous growths that can appear in the muscle of your uterus. Many women have fibroids but never know it because they don’t have symptoms, but others endure very uncomfortable symptoms that may seem mysterious if they don’t know they have uterine fibroids.
Dr. Parisa Pourzand can solve the mystery of your symptoms. Uterine fibroids, uterine polyps, and endometriosis often have similar symptoms. Dr. Pourzand knows the right diagnostic tests and correct physical exams to perform to correctly diagnose your issue — and suggest an appropriate treatment plan to help you.
There are a few things that make it more likely you’ll develop uterine fibroids. One is your age. Women between the ages of 30 and 40 tend to develop fibroids more often than younger or older women, although it’s possible to get them at a younger or older age. Fibroids usually shrink after menopause.
Another risk factor is African American heritage. If you have a family member who has had fibroids, your risk is higher. If your mother had them, you’re three times more likely to develop them than a woman whose mother didn’t have them.
Your lifestyle can also raise your risk. Experts believe that a diet high in red meat and ham may contribute to the development of uterine fibroids. Being obese makes you two to three times more likely to have fibroids.
Types of fibroids
Where the fibroids are, their size, and how many there are all impact whether or not you have symptoms as well as their severity. Uterine fibroids usually develop in the muscle tissue of your uterus.
When they develop within the wall of your uterus, they are called intramural fibroids. When they grow in such a way that they bulge into the cavity of your uterus, they are submucosal fibroids. The last type are subserosal fibroids, which grow to the outside of your uterus.
Uterine fibroids can be tiny — so small they can’t be seen — or quite large. Some women develop a noticeable bulge and may appear pregnant.
You can have fibroids without symptoms, or you may have symptoms that disrupt your life. Some of the more common symptoms include:
- Unusually heavy bleeding during menstruation
- Longer than usual periods
- A feeling of pressure or pain in your pelvis
- The need to urinate frequently
- Problems completely emptying your bladder
- Pain in your back or legs
If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Pourzand. Understanding the reason for your symptoms is important, and there are treatments to help with fibroids.
Medications often treat the symptoms you’re having, particularly heavy bleeding, but they don’t necessarily eliminate the fibroids. There are drugs that block the production of some hormones and induce a sort of temporary menopause, causing the fibroids to shrink and the symptoms to ease.
There are other medications, both hormonal and not, that may be helpful. Dr. Pourzand bases her recommendations on your specific situation and medical history.
A noninvasive procedure that uses ultrasound technology, called MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery, or FUS, can be done on an outpatient basis and has been successful in treating fibroids.
Other minimally invasive procedures are also available to treat fibroids in some instances. Each has benefits and drawbacks, and Dr. Pourzand explains them if they are options for you, so you can make an informed decision.
If you suspect you may have uterine fibroids, or you’re simply having symptoms that you don’t understand, book an appointment with Dr. Pourzand today. You can schedule online, or call the location that’s most convenient for you.