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Endometriosis & Fibroids: What’s The Difference?

These two common conditions are only seen in women. They both affect reproductive age women, and therefore often cause problems with fertility. They can have somewhat similar symptoms and occasionally be treated with similar medications. However, they present very different challenges to women that suffer with these conditions.

Endometriosis & Fibroids: What’s The Difference?

If you have these symptoms you should see your doctor to see if you have either of these conditions:

  • Lower abdominal/pelvic pain which appears cyclical (related to the menstrual cycle)
  • Pain in the lower back, buttock, which may travel in to the legs
  • Heavy menstrual periods and/or bleeding between periods
  • Painful sex
  • Painful bowel movement
  • Marked fatigue which is worse with each menstrual period
  • Increased urinary frequency during the day and increasingly awakening at night to urinate

Both of these conditions can be present without any symptoms. Because fibroids are more visible on imaging than endometriosis, many more women know they have fibroids than women with endometriosis. Whichever condition you have it is important to treat at an earlier stage and is one more reason to visit your doctor regularly (at least once a year) and address any symptoms early on.

While there is overlap in symptoms between the two conditions, they can have very different treatment options.

Endometriosis & Fibroids: What’s The Difference?

Fibroids are benign tumors made up of smooth muscle and fibrous tissue and are found in the uterus. Endometriosis is when the cells that make up the lining of the uterus (endometrium) are found completely outside the uterus; often involving the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and colon.

Just to complicate matters, when these uterine lining cells dive deeper in to the muscle of the uterus that condition is called adenomyosis. Adenomyosis in simpler terms therefore is endometriosis of the uterus.

Carefully Monitor Your Symptoms

No one knows your body better than you. If you are noticing that your period is getting heavier or longer, see your doctor. If you are experiencing new or increasing pain, you should also have this checked.

If you are having significant symptoms, make sure you are informed about all of your treatment options; particularly if the only options you are offered are surgical ones. Always get a second opinion from an experienced Interventional Radiologist (IR) before undergoing any surgery for fibroids or adenomyosis.

Uterine artery embolization (UAE) or Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a nonsurgical, outpatient procedure that treats fibroids or adenomyosis very effectively. It is performed by IR physicians who are specialists in minimally invasive targeted treatments all over the body.

To learn more about UAE/UFE from one of the world’s leading providers of this procedure, call the Atlanta Fibroid Center at 770-953-2600 or make an appointment online.