Frequently Asked Questions About Uterine Fibroids

  1. What are uterine fibroids?
  2. How do you get fibroids?
  3. What is a fibroid tumor?
  4. What does fibroid pain feel like?
  5. How to diagnose fibroids?
  6. How are fibroids treated?
  7. Are fibroid tumors cancerous?
  8. Can fibroids cause bleeding?
  9. Can fibroids cause back pain?
  10. Сan fibroids cause pain?
  11. Сan fibroids cause pain in the stomach?
  12. Сan small fibroids cause pain?
  13. Сan fibroids cause frequent urination?
  14. Can fibroids cause anemia?
  15. Why does penetration hurt?

1.What are uterine fibroids?

Fibroids are the most common non-cancerous masses that occur in female reproductive organs. The masses consist of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue and differ in sizes. They’re also known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas.There are different types of myomas, and they can cause various symptoms or no symptoms at all.

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2.How do you get fibroids?

It’s not exactly clear what causes uterine fibroids. They may be caused by estrogen (female hormone), genetic reasons, and more. When a woman’s estrogen levels are elevated, particularly during pregnancy, uterine fibroids tend to grow. They are additionally more likely to appear when a woman takes contraception pills that contain estrogen. Low estrogen levels can help fibroids shrink, which usually happens after menopause.

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3. What is a fibroid tumor?

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow in a woman’s uterus. There may be more than one myoma in a uterus and they may be large enough to cause pain and heavy/long periods (among other symptoms). In some cases, they cause no symptoms at all. The exact reason for fibroids’ growth is unknown.

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4. What does fibroid pain feel like?

Some women suffering from fibroids may feel pressure and “pulling” sensation in their lower abdomen or pelvis area accompanied by pain. Frequently, patients experiencing fibroid pain describe it as dull and persistent as opposed to sharp pain. However, fibroid symptoms and pain levels/type may vary; some patients report back and/or leg pain as well.

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5. How to diagnose fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are often discovered during a routine pelvic exam (especially if they are small and cause no symptoms). Your doctor may feel or see anomalies in your uterus that suggest uterine fibroids. If you have uterine fibroid symptoms, your gynecologist may recommend an ultrasound or a pelvic MRI to diagnose uterine fibroids.

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6.How are fibroids treated?

Doctors often prescribe contraceptive pills (hormones) that can help minimize symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain (among other possible symptoms). It’s important to know that contraceptive pills do not eliminate fibroids. Fibroids can be treated by a procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (nonsurgical fibroid treatment that is also known as Uterine Artery Embolization) or by surgery (myomectomy, hysterectomy).

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7. Are fibroid tumors cancerous?

Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. Uterine fibroids are almost always benign (non-cancerous). Rarely (less than one in 1,000) a cancerous fibroid will occur. It is called leiomyosarcoma. Doctors believe that these cancers do not arise from an already-existing fibroid. Having uterine fibroids also does not increase a woman’s chances of getting other forms of cancer in reproductive organs.

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8. Can fibroids cause bleeding?

Unusual uterine bleeding is a common symptom of uterine fibroids. Bleedings resulting from fibroid presence normally happen when fibroids grow close to the lining of the uterus.

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9. Can fibroids cause back pain?

Once in a while, fibroids press against muscles and nerves of the lower back and can cause back pain. Because fibroid symptoms depend on where exactly fibroids grow, not all women with fibroids experience back pain caused by myomas.

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10. Сan fibroids cause pain?

Lots of women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms and may not even know they have fibroids. However, depending on the size and location of fibroids, myomas can cause pain in uterus, back pain, and even leg pain has been reported by patients. Levels of pain and its frequency may also vary.

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11. Сan fibroids cause pain in the stomach?

If uterine fibroids are substantial, bloating and pain may occur in the abdomen area. Myomas can also cause constipation, frequent urination, sensation on “weight” and pulling on the bladder, and enlarged uterus.

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12. Сan small fibroids cause pain?

As mentioned before, individual fibroid symptoms may vary based on the size and location of uterine fibroids. It’s possible that small fibroids can cause pain (and/or other symptoms) just as it’s possible that a woman has no symptoms at all. If you have fibroids and experience no symptoms, no treatment is necessary.

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13. Сan fibroids cause frequent urination?

In some cases, uterine fibroids can press on the bladder causing frequent urination. Sometimes, women wake up at night to urinate (multiple times per night). If myomas press on a woman’s bladder, they can make it difficult to fill the bladder completely, which causes frequent urination.

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14. Can fibroids cause anemia?

Heavy and long periods caused by uterine fibroids may lead to anemia. Anemia can result in low energy levels, fatigue, unusually rapid heart beat (particularly with exercise), shortness of breath, headache, difficulty concentrating, etc.

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15. Why does penetration hurt?

Vaginal intercourse that normally wouldn’t hurt may be painful for women with uterine fibroids. Painful sex may be caused by fibroids located close to the cervix, and these myomas may trigger not only pain but bleeding during sexual penetration.

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Atlanta Fibroid Center
of Atlanta Interventional Institute
John C. Lipman, MD, FSIR
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Smyrna, GA 30082

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